11 December 2012

Zimbabwe: Masvingo Council Faces Collapse After Asset Seizure

Photo: IRIN
File photo: Raw sewage flowing

The Masvingo council could face total collapse soon, after a number of council assets, including garbage and fire trucks, were seized as part of a legal battle with workers.

The asset seizures are part of a dispute over unpaid salaries, with the council ordered to pay US$3.5 million to its workforce. The Zimbabwe Urban Council Workers' Union, on behalf of the workers, recently obtained an arbitral award ordering the council to pay its workers. Removal of council property started last Wednesday, as part of plans to auction the assets to fund the court ordered payment.

The council is now without key items that have left it paralysed. This includes water and sewerage equipment, already raising fears of an outbreak of waterborne diseases like typhoid.

Other property attached in the case has included vehicles, office furniture and computers, including those used by top council officials. This also includes the Mayor's Mercedes Benz sedan.

The assets seizure comes as the MDC-T Masvingo Urban district executive and the Masvingo Town Council have 'intensified' efforts to weed out corruption and maladministration within the city council.

Several meetings have been convened in a bid to identify corrupt elements within the MDC-T-led council, while the party district executive has also resolved to come up with a commission of inquiry to handle issues of corruption within the city council.

Provincial spokesperson Harrison Mudzuri told SW Radio Africa that corruption was a serious issue that the party "in no way supports." He said that any incidents of corruption will be dealt with swiftly, regardless of party affiliation.

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