PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai held a crisis meeting Wednesday with the MDC-T-run Masvingo city council after key emergency services equipment was seized in a US$3.6 million salary dispute with employees.
The local authority is scrambling to block the auctioning of its fire tenders and ambulances as well as computers which were attached after council employees successfully petitioned the Labour Court over some US$3.6 million in salary arrears.
MDC-T spokesman, Douglas Mwonzora, confirmed that Tsvangirai and several senior officials had met Masvingo mayor Alderman Femius Chakabuda and his team in a bid to resolve the crisis.
“Tsvangirai held an emergency crisis meeting with the Masvingo City Council leadership because the attachment of council property by the Messenger of Court is an issue of extreme concern to us,” said Mwonzora.
He said Tsvangirai sympathized with the city council’s financial predicament but wanted the workers to be paid their outstanding salaries.
The MDC-T is – which runs most of the country’s towns and cities, is concerned that the crisis in Masvingo will worsen an already poor track record in the administration of local authorities after a number a number of councils facing allegations of incompetence and corruption.
The party recently fired several councilors and officials across the country over corruption allegations.
Meanwhile the Masvingo council has approached the High Court in a bid to block the sale of the equipment.
Justice Andrew Mutema reserved judgement over the chamber application filed by council lawyers Chihambakwe, Makonese and Ncube.
The council argued that it had filed it had filed an application to rescind the Labour Court judgment adding that the sale of the property should called of pending determination of the application.
Council also claimed that its operations would collapse if the property was sold and further challenged the quantification of the arrears.