Monday 3 April 2023


The Supreme Court last week overturned a High Court judgement, which had ordered Delatfin Investments to release earthmoving machines it took from Chitungwiza Municipality after the council had contracted the company to repair the equipment.

Court papers clearly states that Chitungwiza Municipality had submitted the 2007 agreement between them and Delatfin were they would repair the machines and cover the costs with an agreed rental fee.

The Municipality went on to accuse Delatfin of overturning the agreement after receiving the council equipment and demanded US$265 640 as costs.

However Delatfin admitted that there was a written agreement of hire between the parties but on the terms that they will repair the Municipality’s vehicles, machine plants and equipment, they will pay Delatfin’s bills for the repair costs by hiring equipment to the Delatfin.

Delatfin also claimed it repaired the Municipality’s equipment and raised a bill for US$281 840.00 with only US$16 200.00 being paid by the Municipality.

The Chitungwiza Municipality however relied on Audit Manager witness Admire Chipunza who confirmed the contracts and he referred the memorandum of understanding for use on earthmoving machines.

He stated that the agreement expired and was supposed to return the equipment. The witness further denied that they had to pay Delatfin saying their money for repair was to be set off by hiring the equipment.

The witness was however, not privy to the agreement as he was not directly involved.

Delatfin Chief Executive Officer Felix Munyaradzi told the court that Chitungwiza Municipality was willing to get their equipment repaired, but they had no money to pay for the repairs.

The businessman told the court that they were then shown a number of broken down equipment from the workshop.

The witness said in one of the meetings they inquired with Municipality how they were to proceed with agreement given they wanted the return of the serviced equipment and it was at that meeting that Chitungwiza then undertook to pay Delatfin’s bills for repair costs as a departure from the original agreement.

Munyaradzi submitted that he accepted the terms it was on the basis of the new agreement that he wrote a letter on 17 August 2007 asking Chitungwiza to settle their bill of US$281 840 and they made part payment of US$16000 leaving a balance of US$265 640 which forms the basis of the defendant’s counter claim.

However, in his ruling, Justice Jacob Manzunzu said Delatfin cannot hold back onto Chitungwiza Municipality’s property without instituting proceedings for recovery.

“The defendant be and is hereby ordered to return to the plaintiff forthwith, front-end loader: registration number 511-631, grader champion: Registration number 688-808D, bull dozer D4: Registration number 395-551W, bull dozer D7: Registration number 688-488F and bull dozer Slewa D6,” Justice Manzunzu’s judgment read.

Aggrieved by Justice Manzunzu’s judgement, Delatfin approached the Supreme Court bench led by Justice Tendai Uchena, Justice George Chiweshe and Justice Chitakunye, who allowed the appeal and set aside the High Court judgement.

The three judges after reading the documents ruled that: “It is ordered that the appeal be and is hereby allowed with costs.”

“The judgement of the court is set aside and substituted by the following: “The plaintiff’s claim be and is hereby dismissed with costs.” Herald


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