Drain triggers $300 000 lawsuit for city

Drain triggers $300 000 lawsuit for city

JT-Cholera-Zim-14DEC08-060Court Reporters
Harare City Council has been taken to court for failure to maintain its road network, while a man has approached the courts suing the city for $300 000 as damages for breaking his leg after falling into an unsecured drain.
Harare businessman Mr Maxwell Murombo Manatsa argued that the city should be forced to maintain roads, citing two roads — Ridge Road and Mount Road in Avondale, Harare, where he resides — which he said were in a bad state and pushed up his vehicle fleet maintenance costs.

He said he frequently uses the two roads.

In an application for a vindication order filed at the High Court on Thursday, Mr Manatsa listed council director of works Engineer Philip Pfukwa and the council as respondents.

Mr Manatsa, who is represented by Mr Tinashe Tanyanyiwa of Manase and Manase law firm, wants council ordered to repair the two roads within 60 days of granting the order sought.

He argued that the condition of the roads made him suffer injury due to the high rate at which his cars were deteriorating.

“It is common cause the effects of frequently traversing a bad road on motor vehicles,” said Mr Manatsa in his papers.

“The tyres are eroded more quickly and suspensions suffer damage as a result of the terrible state of the roads.”

This, he said, resulted in his vehicles being serviced more often and at times parts have to be changed, which would not be necessary if the roads had been fixed.

Mr Manatsa further argued that council should be held culpable for his woes because it is responsible for ensuring that the city is properly run and that ratepayers enjoy a reasonable standard of living.

“It is high time the people we entrust with our money be compelled to do their jobs instead of just twiddling about while paying themselves heft salaries,” said Mr Manatsa.

The city has 10 days in which to respond to the lawsuit.

Four years ago, the Supreme Court paved way for motorists to sue the local authority for damage caused to their cars by potholes on the municipal roads.

This was after the court upheld a High Court ruling ordering council to pay for damages to former Stanbic Bank boss Ms Pindie Nyandoro’s Mercedes-Benz in 2007.

In January 2007, Ms Nyandoro was driving along Enterprise Road towards the city centre when her Mercedes-Benz hit a pothole, damaging the steering rack and a tie-rod end.

In the drainage system case, Mr Evaristo Mungate (40), who allegedly fell into a drainage pipe along Simon Mazorodze Road in March this year and broke his leg, is demanding $300 000 lump sum as compensation.

In his papers filed at the High Court, Mr Mungate is demanding damages for shock, pain and suffering, loss of amenities of life, disability and medical expenses.

Mr Mungate, who is represented by Mr Tafadzwa Christmas from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights NGO Forum, cited Harare mayor Mr Benard Manyenyeni and Town Clerk Mr Tendai Mahachi as respondents.

He alleged that on March 28 he fell into a drain while running to board a motor vehicle along Simon Mazorodze Road and is now unable to walk and conduct his day-to-day work.

He also claims that he was not able to enjoy leisure activities without the aid of crutches or a walking stick.

Mr Mungate claims that the City of Harare was negligent after it left the drainage pipe open and took no steps to put cautionary sign to warn pedestrians of the hazard posed by the deep hole.

The city is yet to respond to the lawsuit.


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