By Alex Bell
21 December 2012
A legal bid to try and prevent the sale of assets belonging to the Masvingo Council has failed, after a judge ruled that the auction to pay off the council’s debt can go ahead.
The MDC-T run council was taken to court by a workers union after failing to pay its workforce. The court ordered the council to pay out US$3.5 million.
But the council does not have the money to meet this debt and instead, key assets have been listed for seizure and auction. They include garbage and fire trucks, fire fighting equipment, council vehicles, office furniture and computers and even the Mayor’s Mercedes Benz.
The removal of council property started almost two weeks ago, threatening to paralyse council work like clearing refuse or putting out fires. The council tried to halt this and filed an urgent interdict last week, in an effort to buy itself some time to find another way to meet its debt to its workers.
A court has now dismissed this injunction, meaning the auctions can go ahead. This decision is set to have a debilitating affect on the council and its residents, with no sign yet of what comes next.
The MDC-T has indicated that it will approach government for a bail out of the council, insisting that, although it acknowledges the debt that needs to be paid, the council itself cannot be allowed to stop working. But there is no word yet whether a bail out is guaranteed.