BUSINESS owners who have been denied the chance to renew their trading licences by Kwekwe City Council over outstanding rates and water debts have threatened to take court action against the local authority.
The threat to take council to court came after the local authority, in an effort to recover over $7 million in outstanding water and rates debts, refused to renew trading licences for any business which owed it.
Lawyer Caroline Mugabe, acting on behalf of Justin Mandiwanza who was denied a trading licence by town clerk Emmanuel Musara, wrote to the local authority advising that her client would be forced to take court action if council refused to renew his licence.
“Our client advises that you have directed that he clear his rates first in order to obtain a trading licence for 2015. Our client undertakes to effect a payment towards reduction of his arrears within two weeks of receipt of his trading licence.We trust it shall not be necessary for us to employ other legal channels to ensure that he obtains a trading licence,” part of the letter delivered to the Finance Department read.
Mayor Matenda Madzoke denied that his council had passed a resolution to deny business owners renewal of trading licences and called on those affected to seek audience with his office.
“We have no resolution or any agreement to that effect. What we agreed is that before getting a licence, one should committee to a payment plan with us,” Madzoke said.
“However, as you know, council is run by a lot of people, some who want to flex their muscles and pursue their own agenda. So if anyone faces these challenges, they should approach my office instead of going to court.”
Last Wednesday, council suffered another setback in its attempt to force debt clearance by closing water valves to defaulting residents’ homes after the Kwekwe Magistrates’ Court ruled the move was illegal.