The Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) is resisting payment of unit tax and “Way Leave Charges” demanded by the country’s Rural District Councils (RDCs).
Local authorities demand that ZETDC pays between $20 000 and $50 000 per annum for transmission lines and sub-stations erected in their respective areas.
The ZETDC has contested the demand through application filed at the High Court for a declaratur (declaratory) order.
The power distribution company argues such levying is not pursuant to any provision of the RDC Act. ZETDC says it provided the councils with electricity and the surrounding communities with the chance of having electricity connections by use of the said lines and substations, some of which were found in areas that fall under RDCs.
ZETDC further said without the transmission lines and the substations, it could not discharge its mandate either to urban areas or to the rural areas through which the transmission lines pass.
They are also clearly arbitrary and have no lawful foundation,” read part of the founding affidavit by the ZETDC. However, the RDC’s, in their responding affidavit filed on Tuesday insisted they were not charging special unit tax as alleged by ZETDC.
“Instead, respondents (Councils) charge for each unit of land utilised by Applicant (ZETDC) which tariff serves the same purpose as unit taxes,” they submitted.
“The councils argued they were charging the power transmission utility “Way Leave Charges” as a charge incidental to the granting of permission to provide electricity and or to erect substations and transmission lines within their areas.
“As such, the charge is pursuant to RDC’s mandate to charge for services it renders to ZETDC,” the council’s added.