Gweru ‘ignores’ typhoid victim lawsuit

GWERU City Council is yet to respond to a letter of demand filed by former MDC councillor Clemence Kwaru, who is demanding $9 000 compensation after contracting typhoid from tap water supplied by the municipality late last year, Southern Eye has established.

BY STEPHEN CHADENGA

According to documents seen by this paper, Kwaru was admitted at Gweru Provincial Hospital and spent two weeks after he contracted the waterborne disease.

In October last year, Kwaru, through his lawyer Nomore Hlabano of Hlabano Law Chambers, filed a letter of demand, claiming $9 000 for the pain he allegedly suffered from the disease.

“Our client informs us that the local authority, through its employees, transmitted water laced with deadly micro-organisms which cause typhoid to his residence, purporting it to be treated water,” part of the letter dated October 3 and addressed to Gweru City Council, read.

“We have instructions to demand, as we hereby do, a sum of $9 000 together with a collection commission for his treatment as well as pain and suffering. We have instructions to institute legal action against the City of Gweru in court and levy costs should you fail to pay within 48 hours of receipt of this letter.”

Hlabano yesterday said council had confirmed receiving the letter, but had not yet responded, adding he was going to file a follow-up letter to the local authority.

“It’s now three months and they are still to respond to the demand letter,”Hlabano said.

“It shows council is trivialising the matter, and I am going to file a follow-up letter before taking further action.”

Contacted for comment, council spokesperson Manford Gambiza said he was going to respond, but had not done so at the time of going to print.

“I got into office last week and will come back to you,” he said.

But council sources who spoke on condition of anonymity said the local authority was not entertaining the lawsuit for fear that doing so would likely open a floodgate of lawsuits from those infected and affected by the waterborne disease.

The typhoid outbreak, which began in August last year, claimed eight lives and left over 2 000 people hospitalised.

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