By Professor Matodzi
Harare, November 5, 2013 – A legal wrangle involving the country’s ailing state-run national airline, Air Zimbabwe has exposed the dire financial status engulfing the troubled carrier as it fails to settle a meager $1 000 debt owed to leading mobile telecoms provider, Econet Wireless (Econet).
Econet had to resort to taking legal action after Air Zimbabwe failed to pay $1 466 for mobile telecommunication services rendered by the country’s leading mobile telecoms provider from May 2012.
The airline, Econet charges failed to make payments for the services rendered in breach of the agreement entered under which Air Zimbabwe had committed to effect payment upon presentation of an invoice.
Econet recently obtained a court order against Air Zimbabwe authorising it to execute the struggling airline’s property so as to recover the debt owed including interest.
Air Zimbabwe’s failure to settle meager debts such as the one owed to Econet highlights the level of collapse in the management of the national flag carrier which has been struggling to pay its obligations amounting to $100 million owed to several creditors.
Recently, Air Zimbabwe, which suspended its acting chief executive officer Innocent Mavhunga, laid off 600 employees together with some senior managers, who were placed on forced leave after the airline embarked on a streamlining exercise.
Apart from accumulating gargantuan debts, the national airline has grappled with threats of seizure of its assets, wild cat strikes and an ageing aircraft fleet.