By Bulawayo Correspondent
BULAWAYO City Council has resolved to abandon a cremator impounded by the South African Revenue Services (SARS) more than five years ago over improper documentation, and has accumulated storage fees at a warehouse.
The cremator worth US$100 000 was in transit to Bulawayo from Japan when it was impounded in South Africa.
The local authority had contracted a private company, Masen Engineering (PVT) Limited to buy and deliver the cremator.
The local authority has since been frantically trying to secure the release of the equipment by engaging lawyers, but to no avail.
At one time, council sought the intervention of the then vice president, Kembo Mohadi.
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According to the latest council’s confidential report, SARS lawyers recently wrote to Bulawayo demanding the local authority to pay outstanding duty before October 6, 2022, or get the cremator deposited.
According to the report, the incinerator had accrued storage costs of up to R1 1907, 63 as of October this year.
“Management was approached by the contractor and he advised that it was not such a wise decision to pay that amount to SARS in order to facilitate the release of the cremator, which was now obsolete.
“His advice was that a new cremator could cost council close to a million rand and the storage money could money could be used to buy a new cremator.
“He further advised that in his opinion, council should just abandon that cremator because of the costs and the fact that some of the components of the cremator, which were in the container were no longer usable,” reads
part of the report.
After deliberations over the issue, the City Fathers resolved that council dump the cremator to avoid paying further charges.
Councillors also resolved to mount a court application for the recovery of the US$97 120 deposit, which was paid to Masen Engineering Pvt Ltd.
Council has in the past lost millions in botched deals to bogus private entities while some of the contracted companies have been accused of providing shoddy services despite being paid handsomely for jobs.
The local authority is mulling introducing mandatory cremations for children under the age of 12 years as the city is running out of burial space, but some councillors feel all persons under 25 years must be incinerated.