Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Reporter
THE Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) has taken Gwanda Municipality to court for failing to pay a water bill of nearly $140 million accumulated over the past five years.
Zinwa, through its lawyers, James, Moyo-Majwabu and Nyoni Legal Practitioners filed summons at the Bulawayo High Court citing Gwanda Municipality as the defendant.
The water utility seeks an order directing Gwanda Municipality to pay a water bill of about $139,8 million accumulated from April 1, 2015 to February 28, 2021.
Zinwa also wants Gwanda Municipality to pay the money with interest calculated from March 1, 2021 to the date of full payment including legal costs it incurred.
In papers before the court, Zinwa said it sold bulk water to Gwanda Municipality and is now owed about $139,8 million.
“In accordance thereto, the plaintiff sold water to defendant in the period extending from April 1, 2015 to February 28, 2021 and the defendant only paid part of the outstanding amount,” said Zinwa.
Zinwa said in terms of the agreement entered between the two parties, Gwanda Municipality was supposed to pay the money in full upon receipt of the invoices, failure of which the outstanding amount would attract prescribed interest.
“The defendant failed to pay the whole amount invoiced to it and as at February 28, 2021, was in arrears of about $139,8 million. Despite demand, defendant refuses or neglects to tender payment,” said Zinwa.
Gwanda Municipality is yet to respond to the lawsuit.
Last week, Gwanda Municipality started disconnecting water supplies to defaulting ratepayers as the local authority moves to recover what it is owed by residents and commercial entities.
The local authority is owed $247 million. Of the total, $80 million is owed by residents and the remainder is owed by the commercial sector.
The process of disconnecting water supplies started in Jahunda suburb and last week Phakama residents with high outstanding bills were left stranded after supplies were disconnected.
Gwanda Residents Association deputy secretary-general Wellington Nare said the local authority should have first notified residents prior to disconnecting water supplies. — @mashnets