The Bulawayo City Council is yet to take delivery of a new cremator it purchased over a year ago in another shady deal that could cost the council about $100 000, the latest council minutes show.
The local authority purchased a new cremator from a South African based contractor but it did not reach its final destination after it was held up in Durban, South Africa.
The contractor had reportedly failed to pay for its release from the storage facilities
Council had paid an initial deposit of $97 120.
According to previous council records, the local authority resolved to raise about R120 000 to pay the South African Revenue Authority (SARS) in storage fees and secure the release of the cremator.
The non-delivery of the cremator has raised concern among city fathers who felt the issue had dragged for a long time.
“A total of ten (10) cremations were done one female and nine males during the month. The matter was considered and Councillor S. Sibanda sought clarification on the progress regarding the acquired cremator.
“In view of lack of clarity on the progress the Deputy Mayor (Councillor T. Kambarami) felt that council should communicate directly with South Africa Revenue Services (SARS) regarding the cremator. He wondered if it was not prudent to engage new lawyers.
“In response, the Acting Director of Health Services explained that the Cremator was still in South Africa. The issue was being handled by lawyers. At the moment lawyers had not given any feedback,” read part of the latest Health, Housing and Education Committee report.
Chamber Secretary Sikhangele Zhou told the committee that the local authority had engaged its lawyers to work on the matter.
“The chamber secretary also explained that the cremator was in South Africa enroute to Zimbabwe. SARS had confiscated the Cremator because of inadequate documents. The suppliers had not indicated that the cremator was destined for Zimbabwe.
“This resulted in an unclear bill of lading. Council was being assisted in this matter by Mr Majoko a lawyer. He had assisted the suppliers to fight their case in the South African High Court. Mr Majoko had been communicating with Council well on this issue before he went on vacation in December, 2018. The issue of engaging new lawyers would be considered accordingly depending on progress,” she said.
Currently, the council has to rely on one cremator which is situated at West Park Cemetery.