Gwanda Municipality has an outstanding US$3 million debt owed to ZINWA.
In an urgent High Court application filed last Friday, the Gwanda Municipality said it is seeking an order barring ZINWA from disconnecting water, adding that stopping water supplies will result in an outbreak of water borne diseases like cholera.
ZINWA and the Water Resources Minister are cited as the first and second respondents respectively by Gwanda Municipality’s lawyers, Matshobana Ncube of Phulu and Ncube legal practitioners.
“The 1st respondent be and is hereby interdicted from disconnecting the water supply of the Applicant (Gwanda Council) as per the status quo.
“The 2nd respondent be and is hereby directed to ensure that the 1st respondent complies with the order specified in paragraph,” reads in part an interim relief sought by the Gwanda municipality against ZINWA and the Water Resources Minister.
ZINWA on Monday last week said it would immediately disconnect water supplies to Gwanda’s 65 000 residents to press that town’s local authority to settle US$3 501 796.93 water debt that the council says is unreasonable and illegitimate.
However, the Gwanda council said ZINWA’S attempt to disconnect water is illegal.
“The move to render the Municipality of Gwanda Dry and Waterless is merely an attempt to arm twist the applicant into paying an illegitimate bill through extra legal means.
“There is no legal basis for the first respondent to take the law into its hands and stop providing watwer to the municipality. The Act governing the 1st respondent viz the ZINWA Act does not empower the 1st respondent to take such an action,” Gwanda Municipality argued in the court application.
The Municipality said stopping water supplies would result in a catastrophic outbreak of cholera.
“There will be irreparable harm to the Applicant if the water supply is disconnected immediatelty, as per the threat in the 1st respondent’s letter, 65 000 residents will go without water and the diseass outbreak and loss of business will be catastrophic,” Gwanda council argued.
ZINWA is represented by Moyo-Majwabu and Nyoni legal practitioners. The matter has not yet been set down for hearing.