Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Mine compels Zesa to disconnect power

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A CHINHOYI-BASED gold mine, Eldorado Mine recently successfully obtained a court order compelling the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distributing Company (ZEDTC) to disconnect power supply to its premises following an invasion by artisanal miners.
BY CHARLES LAITON
Although it is out of the ordinary that a company would seek such a court order, the gold mine owned by a Chinese businessman, Chen Shaoliang, operating under the name Wenzhou Enterprises (Pvt) Ltd said it had petitioned the court for recourse after the power utility initially ignored the mine’s calls to have its electricity switched off.
“The conduct of ZETDC of ignoring the account-holder’s call to disconnect power and ignoring correspondences regarding such an important issue may lead to any reasonable person concluding that the respondent (ZETDC) is acting in connivance with the illegal miners to the prejudice not only to the applicant (mine), but the nation at large because gold is not being sold at Fidelity Printers and Refinery Pvt Ltd,” Shaoliang said in his founding affidavit.
“This is an application for an order compelling the respondent to switch off power at Eldorado Mine, which power is not being supplied at the instance of applicant.”
In her determination on June 6, 2018, High Court judge Justice Nyaradzo Munangati-Manongwa ordered ZETDC to disconnect electricity at the mine within 48 hours from the date of the service of the court order and not to reconnect the same without the mine’s written request.
The judge also slapped ZETDC with costs of suit on a legal practitioner client scale after the power utility failed to appear in court.
“Whereupon, after reading documents filed of record, and hearing council (for the applicant) it is ordered that: (1) the respondent is hereby ordered to disconnect electricity supply at the premises of Wenzhou Enterprises within 48 hours from the date of service of this order.
“(2) The respondent shall not reconnect electricity at the applicant’s mine mentioned in clause (1) above without the applicant’s written request or an order of this court and (3) the respondent shall pay the cost of suit on a legal practitioner client scale.”
According to court papers filed under case number HC3450/18, Eldorado Mine owner said the illegal gold miners had evaded his mine and were using electricity at its expense.