Council property attached over $200k debt

MARONDERA - Marondera municipal workers have attached council property worth $200 000 over unpaid salaries dating back to 2010.

This comes after the municipality failed to honour its pledge to pay 149 workers their outstanding salaries following a Labour Court ruling directing the local authority to pay them by April.

Mugove Mazani of Tadiwa and Associates, who is representing the workers in the salary dispute, told the Daily News his clients had realised their employer was not sincere and decided to approach the High Court which granted them the order to attach the property.

Mazani said while Marondera municipality owed the employees $198 000, the local authority also owed its workers over $1 million in other salary arrears, a case which is still before the courts.

He said his clients had lost patience after the municipality continued to procrastinate payment.

“We are attaching their property today and we will sell anything that is council’s, including vehicles, to settle the 2010 arrears while we wait for the courts to determine on the other case,” said Mazani.

Josiah Musuwo, the Marondera town clerk, said council management was trying to engage the workers to find an amicable solution.

“I am currently in a meeting discussing the issues you are raising, I will come back to you as soon as I am done,” said Musuwo.

In March, the local authority slashed workers’ salaries to sustain its activities, affecting workers in grade six categories and above.

The lowly paid in grade five and below were exempted from the interim salary cuts.

The city fathers, however, assured the workers that the move to slash salaries was not permanent as they would be reinstated when the council’s fortunes improved, according to a council official who requested anonymity.

The official said the local authority had run bankrupt as it was collecting less than $150 000 per month in bills and rates from residents against its monthly salary bill of over $260 000 every month.

“There is really no money to pay the workers and I do not see the situation improving any time soon because residents are not paying their bills,” said the official.

Almost all local authorities throughout the country are struggling to provide services to residents as well as failing to pay salaries on time as the liquidity crisis deepens.

Observers say the situation was exacerbated by minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Ignatius Chombo’s directive to freeze debts owed by ratepayers last year.

Following the directive, most ratepayers became reluctant to meet their obligations to councils, hoping a similar reprieve would be announced in the future.

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.