Friday, 28 February 2020

HOUSE FIRE : LAWYER SUES ZESA


A BULAWAYO lawyer is suing Zesa for US$50 000 after his house was gutted by fire following an electric spark which emanated from contact between overhead live cables.

Mr Job Sibanda, through his law firm Job Sibanda and Associates, has filed summons at the Bulawayo High Court citing Zesa and its insurer, Cell Insurance Company as defendants.

In papers before the court, Mr Sibanda said he lost an assortment of goods, which included household property, building material and kitchen utensils when his house in Bulawayo’s Harrisvale suburb was burnt down in September 2018. 

He said Zesa being the country’s sole distributor of electricity should be held liable for the fire, which destroyed his property.

“On September 9, 2018, a fire caused by an electric spark on the overhead cables, one of which is connected to my house, destroyed a four-roomed outbuilding on my property including all the moveable property inside the building. The spark was caused by branches of a tree underneath the cables, which came into close contact with the live cables,” said Mr Sibanda.

He accused Zesa of negligence, saying the power utility should be held legally accountable for failing to properly maintain the cables.

“The first defendant negligently failed to properly maintain the cables in question by allowing a tall tree near my house to grow underneath the cables and was thus an act of negligence,” he said. 

Mr Sibanda wants an order directing the defendants to pay him US$50 000 or the equivalent in local currency at the prevailing interbank rate.

“The reasonable cost to replace the outbuilding structure to its previous state would be in the sum of US$50 000 or its equivalent at the prevailing interbank rate at the time of payment. Although Zesa has admitted liability through the second defendant (Cell Insurance) for the fire and loss suffered, the power utility has failed or neglected to pay the money despite demand,” he said.

Mr Sibanda wants Zesa to pay legal costs. Zesa and Cell Insurance, through their lawyers R Ndlovu and Company and Danziger and Partners, have filed notices of appearance to defend the summons. Chronicle

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