Redcliff pays off debt

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Financially-skint Redcliff municipality saved the auctioning of its only ambulance and other utility vehicles when it paid off the debt owed to former town treasurer Geoffrey Sithole on Tuesday.

The local authority paid $6 311 to Kwekwe deputy sheriff two days before the scheduled removal of its vehicles attached over a $6 000 debt in outstanding salaries and allowances.

An official with the deputy sheriffs’ office confirmed payment was made late on Tuesday and all vehicles attached over the debt had now been released.

“We have received $6 311 from Redcliff municipality — $6 000 being the capital debt while $311 is for the costs — and therefore all vehicles attached over the debt have now been released,” said the official.

However, the municipality’s woes are far from over as workers represented by lawyer Tapera Sengweni have approached the High Court with the intention of registering an arbitration award which would see them also attaching council property.

The workers are owed salaries for the last 20 months and are increasingly getting impatient over non-payment of their dues.

Late last year, the workers besieged Town House, demanding their outstanding salaries ahead of Christmas holidays.

Management, led by town clerk Elizabeth Gwatipedza, responded by suspending three top union representatives over the stand-off, alleging they had incited other workers into engaging in an illegal strike as well as riotous behaviour.

Redcliff claims it is owed substantial sums by Ziscosteel (now New Zimsteel) noting if the debt is paid off, council will be able to meet its obligations.

Essar Africa Holdings, the major shareholder at New Zimsteel after receiving a Cabinet directive to start operations at the plant recently, told NewsDay their representatives would meet soon with the local authority to discuss payment modalities.