Zesa Holding’s debt to Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has ballooned to $114 million as at August 31, but the power utility is refusing to acknowledge it, latest council minutes show.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
On the other hand, BCC owes Zesa over $93 million in unpaid electricity bills.
According to the minutes, BCC is billing Zesa royalty fees of $860 284, monthly, for the use of a power station, but the power utility is refusing to pay for it.
As a result, the two parties have dragged each other to court.
“Thereafter, the city legal officer advised that there was no progress with regards to the Zesa issue.
She confirmed that Zesa had sued council on two matters, that is service provided and wayleaves,” the minutes read.
“Council had lodged a counter claim and had challenged Zesa that the matter was already with the courts where by all the 31 local authorities had been sued by Zesa. Council is billing Zesa $860 284 as royalty charges per month. As at August 31, 2017 the royalty bill stood at $113 522 265,” the minutes read.
Contacted for comment, Zesa spokesperson Fullard Gwasira said they were owed huge sums of money by consumers, including local authorities, and they had since employed various debt collection methods to recover it.
He said lawsuits were Zesa’s last resort in cases where the creditors were not co-operating in terms of payment plans.
In 2016, the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC), a subsidiary of Zesa Holdings, approached the High Court seeking an order compelling BCC to settle its $80 million power debt.
The matter is pending at the courts.
In the same year again, ZETDC approached the High Court suing at least 200 local authorities, State enterprises and private companies over $1 billion unpaid power bills.