By Innocent Ruwende
A South Africa-based specialist surgeon has threatened to sue Harare City Council after the local authority failed to pay an outstanding bill of R1 million for treatment of two of its fire-fighters who were severely burnt in a rescue mission in 2016.
Tapera Chipara and Naboth Zvaita were injured while trying to rescue workers trapped in a raging inferno inside a suspected illicit beer manufacturing plant in Graniteside, Harare.
The company in question kept 30 000 litres of ethanol without a licence.
Following the incident, the city sent the two to Dr Inchien Chamisa, a specialist surgeon practising at Mediclinic Medforum Hospital in Pretoria, South Africa.
Council undertook to pay the pair’s bills and they stayed at the institution for several months before being discharged early last year.
It has emerged that various invoices were raised in respect of the treatment of the two employees by various service providers with an outstanding total amounting to R918 549.
Dr Chamisa has since engaged lawyers Atherstone and Cook to recover the debt which he has failed to recover despite making numerous efforts.
The lawyers have since written to council claiming the outstanding amount and threatening to sue if the city does not respond favourably.
“What is obviously clear is the fact that this amount has been outstanding for quite some time,” reads part the letter. “Now, we have been instructed by our clients that if payment is not received or at least satisfactory arrangements for the payment of the outstanding money is not made within next seven days, summons will be issued against your organisation.
“This will obviously incur you in high expenses and consequently, it will be in your interest that you comply with this letter of demand forthwith.”
Harare mayor Councillor Bernard Manyenyeni yesterday confirmed that the city had received a letter of demand from Dr Chamisa’s lawyers.
“We are finding ways to deal with this current embarrassment,” he said without giving further details.