HIPPO VALLEY ESTATES LIMITED
MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, WATER AND CLIMATE
HIGH COURT OF ZIMBABWE
HARARE, 20 February, 2018 and 3 May, 2018
T Magwaliba, for the applicants
E Mukucha, for the respondent
MANGOTA J: The applicants are sister companies. They are into sugar-cane growing and sugar processing. They operate in the Southern part of Zimbabwe’s lowveld.
The respondent is the Minister of Environment, Water and Climate. She is the one to whom the President of Zimbabwe assigned the Zimbabwe National Water Authority Act out of which the Zimbabwe National Water Authority [“ZINWA”] was born. ZINWA is a statutory body.
The applicants concluded two agreements with ZINWA’s predecessors. The agreements related to the supply of raw water to the applicants. They were signed in 1961.
The agreements provide that the parties - i.e. the applicants and ZINWA- would jointly review charges for raw water and the respondent would fix the charges if the parties failed to agree. One of the agreements provides that any new charges would take effect in the succeeding year. The other provides that new charges would take effect after a period of two months.
On 17 December, 2015 ZINWA’s Chief Executive Officer, one Sakupwanya, addressed a letter to the applicants. The letter which the applicants attached to the application as Annexure C referred to the review of raw water tariffs. It reads, in part, as follows:
“RE: REVIEW OF RAW WATER TARIFFS
This serves to advise that Government, through the recent National Budget pronouncement, has reviewed water tariffs for Commercial Agriculture (Estates) from $9.45 per megalitre to $12-00 per megalitre.
The new tariffs are with effect from December 1, 2015” [emphasis added].