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    Thursday, 7 December 2017

    4 years later, Masvingo City Council gets back 50 attached vehicles


    MASVINGO – Masvingo ratepayers must be counting their losses as the long-running $3,5 million labour case between Masvingo City Council and its workforce continue to rage in the courts with 50 vehicles attached in 2013 only being temporarily released by Masvingo High Court last week.
    The cost to the ratepayers as the Council vehicles remained idle for four years vehicles must be huge.
    Two Muzaya Auctioneers are demanding $309 000 from the Council as storage fees for the vehicles according to court papers in the hands of The Mirror.
    The amount of money that the local authority has spent in legal fees in the seven year-old battle which saw the case going up and down from the Labour Court right up to the Supreme Court and back again has not been quantified but experts say it runs into hundreds of thousands of dollars.
    Apart from staying idle, the vehicles lost value through depreciation and getting antiquated. They say the book value of the attached vehicles is now zero.
    Analysts said it would have been better for the warring parties to talk and agree than to put to waste so many vehicles which in turn pushed up the cost of running a city. Legal experts also said that the labour case has become more complicated and costly by the day as the warring parties dug in.
    Recovery vehicles were seen towing the aged and rusty vehicles on Tuesday afternoon last week soon after Justice Mafusire granted the order for the release of the vehicles.
    The vehicles were being moved from a garage along Industria Road where they were stored. Justice Mafusire ordered the release of the vehicles pending an appeal by Two Muzaya Auctioneers at the Supreme Court, according to Court papers.
    Two Muzaya Auctioneers have since appealed against the order.
    Workers are suing the local authority for $3.5million following a dispute over managerial and general staff salaries that started in 2010.
    Masvingo City Council hired top lawyers Colin Kahuni and Advocate Tembinkosi Magwalimba to fight for an order for the release of the vehicles and respondents were the Zimbabwe Urban Council Workers Union, the second was Two Muzaya Auctioneers and the third being The Sheriff of the High Court who attached the vehicles.
    The vehicles were supposed to be auctioned by Two Muzaya Auctioneers but the Council appealed against the labour case.
    "Leave to execute the judgement of this honourable court in case HC 48/17 dated 8th September 2017 pending the determination of the appeal in case number SC 675/17 be and is hereby granted.
    "Consequently, the respondents shall forthwith and unconditionally release or cause to be released, all applicant's goods attached and removed in the execution by the 3rd respondent at the instance of the 1st respondent and entrusted into the custody of the 2nd respondent, under case number HC 401/17," reads part of the judgement by Justice Mafusire which is in possession of The Mirror.
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