By Yeukai Karengezeka
Harare City Council has said it is owed $135 million by Zesa Holdings and this is one of the key factors affecting service delivery.
This came out after Zesa handed over a list of its creditors to Energy and Power Development Minister Fortune Chasi. who publicly announced their names.
Minister Chasi made the announcement last week during a business leaders’ meeting in the capital, where he encouraged those in the mining, commercial, agriculture, domestic and local authorities sectors to clear their debts which have accrued to over $1 billion.
In an interview with The Herald, Harare Mayor Councillor Herbert Gomba said the power utility owed them over $135 million for royalties and way-leaves.
“We are owed a lot of money and Zesa owes us around $135 million, that is for royalties and way-leaves that they have not been paying for nearly 30 years,” he said.
“We are also owed a lot in terms of rent and usage of our properties like Harare Thermal Station, Wynne Street offices and several others that they are renting from us.
“We have since refused to give them title deeds on the basis that until and unless they come forward to settle what they owe us, we are not going to budge.”
Cllr Gomba said reconciliation was needed and he wanted to engage Minister Chasi and appraise him of the correct situation.
“So, it is a question of reconciliation and after the reconciliation process and set-offs we can see that they owe us much more than what they are saying,” he said.
“We kindly ask them to come forward and pay up, so that at the end we can be seen giving service to our people.
“Beyond this interview, I will be able to engage the minister (Advocate Chasi) and enlighten him because I think he is getting one side of the story only from the Zesa people so that he gets acquainted with issues to do with royalties, way-leaves, leases and trenching and usage of properties they are using such as Wynne Street.
“After all, Zesa was started by municipal assets, actually it is supposed to be our company, not a central Government company and we should be a shareholder.”
Cllr Gomba said the firm was giving council estimated bills and hoped that they will reconcile their billing system and begin to send mre accurate charges.
Zesa Holdings public relations manager Mr Fullard Gwasira refused to comment, saying the matter was before the courts.
“The issue is before the courts and therefore sub judice,” he said. The Herald