100 Masvingo vehicles idle as parties haggle over storage fees

Source: 100 Masvingo vehicles idle as parties haggle over storage fees | The Herald May 31, 2017

George Maponga Masvingo Bureau
Masvingo City Council is reportedly failing to recover over 100 vehicles and road-making equipment attached by the Messenger of Court owing to a raging dispute over storage fees in excess of $300 000. The storage fees accumulated over the past five years. The council lost its entire fleet and road-making equipment in 2012 after it was attached by the Messenger of Court when its workers won a $3,5 million salaries lawsuit at the Labour Court.

The city’s employees had taken council to court demanding salary increment backdated to 2009.

Masvingo City Council’s entire vehicle fleet was then attached by the Messenger of Court pending auctioning to settle the $3,5 million suit.

The council later got reprieve after the Supreme Court overturned the Labour Court’s decision.

The vehicles and road-making equipment had been gathering dust and wasting away at the Messenger of Court premises in the Masvingo industrial area.

Town Clerk Mr Adolph Gusha yesterday said his council was failing to collect the attached vehicles as the Messenger of Court was demanding $300 000 storage fees.

Mr Gusha said they had since approached the courts for determination on who should pay the storage fees between council and the workers.

“We failed to recover our attached vehicles from the Messenger of Court despite our court victory because they are asking us to pay storage fees in excess of $300 000,’’ he said.

“We, however, believe it is the workers who must pay the storage fees and the matter is now before the courts and we are waiting for a determination.’’

Mr Gusha said his council was hopeful that some of the attached vehicles were still running despite spending over five years lying idle.

“Our teams regularly maintained the vehicles and some are still running though they need touch ups like new tyres and batteries, together with repainting after almost five years lying idle in the open,’’ he said.

Masvingo City Council was left almost on the verge of collapse after its entire vehicle fleet, including ambulances and refuse collection trucks were attached by the Messenger of Court pending auctioning.

The council managed to recover its ambulances that were released on humanitarian grounds and was forced to hire private vehicles to collect piling refuse, while mobilising new resources to buy new trucks.

The attachment of Masvingo City Council’s vehicles was believed to have been caused by infighting within the then MDC-T dominated council, as rival factions sought to score cheap political points.