Chitungwiza set to lose 7 vehicles to former employees

SERVICE delivery at struggling Chitungwiza Municipality is expected to worsen as seven of its vehicles, including a refuse truck, are set to be auctioned tomorrow to settle the council’s debt to former employees.

BY PAIDAMOYO MUZULU

The sale will be conducted by Revelations Auctioneers under instruction from the Sheriff of the High Court.

The matter arose after council failed to settle termination packages with a group of workers retrenched three years ago during a staff restructuring exercise.

The workers, led by Charter Chikutirwe, applied to the High Court in case number HC 679/14 seeking settlement.

A judgment was given in the workers’ favour, resulting in the current attachment and auction of the council’s movable properties.

Revelations Auctioneers yesterday said they would auction the following council property: Toyota Fortuner (ADR 1383), Nissan Hardbody NP300, Toyota Hilux double-cab (AAE 7098), Land Rover (AEB 6132), CK UD Truck (AAE 5899), Toyota Hilux (ADR 4943) and Foton double-cab (AAE 7103).

Chitungwiza town clerk, George Makunde confirmed that the council had an outstanding issue with the workers, but claimed that the auction would not proceed, as they had reached an out-of-court settlement with the workers.

“I think there was a miscommunication between the former workers and their lawyer, a Chidziva,” he said. “We have made a payment to them as agreed and we hope the issues would be clarified tomorrow (today) ahead of the supposed auction.”

The auctioning of the property would greatly dent service delivery for the council, which is currently under a caretaker administration of Madzudzo Pawadyira, after all 25 councillors were suspended on corruption charges.

The town has been struggling to pay its employees for the past five years and currently has salary arrears in excess of 12 months.

Chitungwiza, under the commission’s administration, is working on reducing the head count by another 300, to leave it with about 600 employees on its payroll.

At its peak, the town had 2 100 employees, who have been gradually laid off, as the council tries to keep afloat.