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SA company wants money allocated to MDC-T garnished over R4m debt

By Mashudu Netsianda

A SOUTH African wholesale textile company and a Bulawayo garment manufacturing firm which supplied MDC-T with 200 000 T- shirts and head scarves in 2008 have approached the High Court seeking an order directing the opposition party to pay nearly R5 million for the consignment.

MDC supporters on their way to a rally
MDC supporters on their way to a rally

The T-shirts and headscarves were for use by MDC-T during its campaign ahead of the 2008 Presidential runoff, which the late Mr Morgan Tsvangirai opted out of alleging acts of violence against his party supporters.

The manufacturing firms, Cabat Trade and Finance (Pvt) Ltd of Johannesburg in South Africa and Security Mills (Pvt) Ltd of Belmont in Bulawayo want about R 4, 6 million from MDC-T for the consignment of party T-shirts and regalia supplied. The money was supposed to be paid in South Africa including the value added tax.

The two companies, through their lawyer Mr Pineas Madzivire of Joel Pincus Konson and Wolhuter Legal Practitioners filed a court application for garnishee at the Bulawayo High Court citing MDC-T and Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi as respondents.

Minister Ziyambi was cited in his capacity as the Government official responsible for administering and distributing funds in terms of the Political Parties Finance Act.

The two firms want a court order that compels Minister Ziyambi to garnish R4 560 935,37 from the money allocated to MDC-T under the Political Parties Finance Act.

In his founding affidavit, Mr Madzivire who is acting on behalf of the companies, said the application for a garnishee order is premised on a Supreme Court judgment obtained against MDC-T in November last year.

Mr Madzivire said despite the judgment, MDC-T was failing to pay them the money.

“In terms of the Political Parties Finance Act , which is administered by the second respondent (Minister Ziyambi), the State is obliged to fund any political party that gets at least five percent of the vote in a general election hence it is the deponent’s belief that the garnishee is or will be indebted to the judgment debtor.

“This application is being made in terms of Rule 377 of the High Court Rules, which provides that a judgment creditor who has obtained a judgment order for the recovery or payment of money may make a court application for a garnishee order,” he said.

The applicants want MDC-T to pay R4 560 935,37 or its equivalent in RTGS$ or any other currency using the prevailing bank rate.

Supreme Court judge Justice Bharat Patel sitting with Deputy Chief Justice Elizabeth Gwaunza and acting judge of appeal Justice Martin Makonese on circuit in Bulawayo ordered MDC-T to pay Security Mills R4,5 million together with five percent interest calculated from April 2008 to the date of final payment.

The judge also ordered MDC-T to pay the legal costs incurred by Security Mills.

The Supreme Court ruling follows an appeal by Security Mills against Bulawayo High Court Justice Maxwell Takuva’s judgment in favour of MDC-T.

According to court papers, sometime in April 2008, MDC-T legislator Mr Eddie Cross and Mr Simon Spooner entered into an oral contract with Mr Lawrence Zlattner, representing Security Mills, in terms of which the former ordered on behalf of the MDC-T some party material for the 2008 elections. Security Mills supplied the consignment.

In dismissing the application, Justice Takuva said Mr Zlattner took a conscious risk and acted recklessly without ascertaining who exactly he was contracting with.

He said Security Mills failed to discharge the onus of showing that by reason of the MDC-T’s conduct they had been led to supply the goods in question on the strength of representations made by the opposition party.

The order was for the manufacturing and supply of 200 000 T-shirts and head scarves, commonly known as “doeks and bandanas.” The said order was to be supplied in batches.

Mr Cross and Mr Spooner made an undertaking to pay as MDC-T agents but they defaulted prompting the companies to drag them to the High Court via summons claiming the amount owed. The Chronicle