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BCC engages Mohadi over seized cremator

by Staff reporter
05 Jun 2020 at 09:01hrs | Views
BULAWAYO City Council has engaged Vice-President Kembo Mohadi to facilitate the release of its cremator held in Durban, South Africa, after the contractor failed to pay R120 000 duty to the South African Revenue Service (SARS).

The cremator, which was imported from Japan, has been stuck in the neighbouring country since 2018 after SARS impounded it citing improper import documentation.

SARS queried claims it was destined for Zimbabwe and demanded duty for the cremator.

Town clerk Christopher Dube during a recent full council meeting submitted a report seeking authority to pay R120 000 to SARS to facilitate the release of the cremator.

"The issue of the cremator had been raised with the COVID-19 national taskforce led by Vice-President Kembo Mohadi for the South African government to be engaged," the minutes read.

Mayor Solomon Mguni yesterday confirmed that council made recommendations to engage national taskforce on COVID-19 to assist in efforts for the release of the cremator from South Africa.

"Yes, the council made recommendations to the effect that the national taskforce on COVID-19 be engaged and this is being handled by the office of the town clerk. Once all is done they will come back to us, that is when we will know the way forward," Mguni said.

Bulawayo Metropolitan Affairs minister Judith Ncube, who leads the COVID-19 provincial taskforce, confirmed that BCC approached them over the cremator.

"Yes, they (council) did approach us on the issue and we made recommendations to the responsible ministries to ask for their assistance in the issue. You know that we have ministries such as Foreign Affairs and Health and Child Care, we are still engaging them to assist in the issue," Ncube said.

Early this year, town clerk Dube had told the council that efforts to pay for the legal processes on the cremator were fruitless because the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe had requested certain information from the contractor which information he could not produce because the company (not named) was currently not operating.

"Having hit a brickwall, the matter had been referred back to (council) management which sought an audience with the contractor's lawyers. It had been confirmed that the cremator was in Durban. Council had paid the contractor $97 120 deposit and chances of recovering these funds were very slim," the minutes read.

"In order to mitigate our loss, management was proposing that council take over the contract from Durban to Zimbabwe including the installation."

Indications are that the decision had been arrived at after considering that if the contract was cancelled, council stood to lose the deposit paid and most of the outstanding costs would also remain whether the contract was cancelled or not.

"It was, therefore, recommended that council take over the contract and that the costs involved thereof will be reported to the relevant committee as soon as the figures become available," read the previous meeting's minutes.

"The proposal, therefore, was for council to take over the contract to ensure progress on this matter and to avoid further losses."

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Source - newsday