Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief
The High Court has ordered cash-strapped Kwekwe City Council (KCC) to pay about $900 000 it owes the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) in unpaid bills.
Bulawayo High Court Judge Justice Lawrence Kamocha made the ruling on Thursday last week.
Justice Kamocha said Kwekwe City Council (applicant) should pay Zinwa (respondent) $894 802 94 so that the water authority is able to carry out maintenance works and be in a position to continue supplying water to the local authority.
“The applicant’s claims that it had no other satisfactory remedy available to it is untenable, it owed the respondent $$894 802 94 and only paid $6 000. The satisfactory remedy, in my view was to make regular payments of what it owed so that the respondent would properly manage the water supply,” said the Judge in his ruling.
The local authority had approached the courts saying it had been “injured” together with its clients when Zinwa disconnected water supplies as a result of the debt.
Zinwa however explained to the court that it only reduced the amount of water to Kwekwe because it could not carry out maintenance works due to failure by the council to pay for the water they had used.
Justice Kamocha said the council was not competent to talk about third parties (its clients) being injured by the disconnection of water when there was no evidence brought before him from the affected parties.
According to court papers, on November 12, 2014, the local authority sought and was granted a provisional order instructing Zinwa to restore water supply.
At the time, Zinwa was interdicted from interfering with water supply to the council pending finalisation of the matter.