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    Friday, 27 July 2018

    Gwanda RDC to pay $5m out of court settlement

    GWANDA – Lourens Botha, a safari operator who was in a joint venture with Gwanda Rural District Council (RDC) may bring the local authority down to its knees if he persists on attaching the RDC's property over a $5 507 980,00 debt.
    Council auditor Butholenkosi Ncube said if council properties were to be attached then it meant the local authority is going to become dysfunctional and will probably close as the total value of its properties may not match the demanded amount.
    The debt arose after Gwanda RDC terminated the safari contract in 2014 and Botha made claims for the development he made at Doddieburn Ranch including a lodge that he built there and animals brought in.
    Council terminated the contract with Botha allegedly because it was not realising revenue from the venture. The council appealed to the High Court against the damages claimed by Botha but Justice Mathonsi ruled in favour of the safari operator.
    Debating the issue at a full council meeting last week, councilors were of the view that the compensation granted to Botha was too high and haggled on whether to appeal to the Supreme Court or to engage Botha for an out of court settlement.
    Eventually they settled for an out of court settlement.
    "Council assets are worth $1,5m. Other assets especially clinics are worth $750 000 and schools are worth around $15m. If these are attached then this will mean the demise of  council," said Ncube.
    The councilors said the problem was caused by the fact that councilors were railroaded into adopting some resolution without adequate information.
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