By Vumani Mthiyane
The Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa), Tuesday, impounded vehicles belonging to the Municipality of Gwanda over a ZW$17 million debt for water supplies.
Gwanda Deputy Mayor Councillor Panalo Maphala confirmed that more than 10 service cars belonging to the local authority were impounded by Zinwa.
“I can confirm that Zinwa impounded the cars over the previous $1.8 million we owed them. However, the debt has accrued to more than $17 million. Vehicles impounded include 2 ambulances, 2 fire tenders and a fleet of our pull cars. The debt is currently attracting an interest rate of more than $1 million per month. As we speak right now the Mayor and another Councillor have gone for negotiations with them,” confirmed the deputy mayor in an interview with CITE.
He added that Zinwa came to the Municipality chambers at around 17.00hrs on Tuesday with about 15 drivers and took away the vehicles.
Councillor Maphala blamed council management for failing to handle the matter.
“Council management was fully aware of this development because there is no way Zinwa would gather guts to come all the way from Bulawayo to take away our cars.
“It means all the necessary paperwork was done, starting from the first demand to the final demand. Everything was done procedural,” said Cllr Maphala.
Four years ago the same vehicles were once impounded by the water authority before a ministerial intervention led to the release of the service vehicles.
Contacted for comment Zinwa spokesperson, Tsungirai Shoriwa said his office was still investigating the matter.
“I can confirm having received the Gwanda vehicle impounding issue but I cannot give full details now.
We are still gathering more information from the ground,” said Shoriwa.
Gwanda Resident Association Secretary-General, Bekezela Maduma Fuzwayo said residents were also to blame for not paying their bills.
“Residents are not paying their bills and expect the council to fully operate, this is not fair. At the end of the day the same people who do not way are the ones who cry for smooth service delivery,” said Fuzwayo.