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DStv Sued Over Firmness On US Dollar Subscriptions

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DStv Sued Over Firmness On US Dollar Subscriptions

Since the cash crisis started a number of banks have been demanding the elusive United States dollar and an extra commission to process DStv subscriptions as more plastic money payment avenues are being closed, side-lining a number of customers.

Banks have blamed the shift in payment platforms for the pay television service on foreign currency shortages in Zimbabwe.Most Zimbabweans have been failing to pay their DStv subscription.

According to the chronicle.co.zw ,yesterday a lawyer from Takawira Law Chambers, Mr James Majatame filed a court application High Court, compelling about Multichoice Zimbabwe not accepting other methods of payment beside US dollar.

Mr Majatame is seeking a declaratory order compelling Multichoice to accept the other methods of payment permissible in terms of the laws of ZImbabwe.

“The first respondent’s (Multichoice) conduct of refusing to accept subscriptions by way of swipe, ecocash, bank transfer, bond notes and coins, preferring US dollars only, is unlawful.

“The Government in 2016 passed Statutory Instrument 133 of 2016 and the principal Act, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Amendment Act (2016) through which bond notes and coins were issued as legal tender in Zimbabwe

Section 44B(2) of the said SI 133 of 2016, provides that bond notes and coins are exchangeable at par value with any specified currency other than Zimbabwean currency prescribed as legal tender for the purposes of Section 44A. Multichoice’s conduct of refusing to accept other forms of payment was unlawful.

“Clearly the refusal by the Respondent to accept my payment for its services in bond notes or coins, is not only illegal but it is a massive slap in the face for the Government and lawmakers,” said Mr Majatame.

He said no one was above the law in Zimbabwe, hence Multichoice, as long as it does its business in this jurisdiction, must respect Zimbabwean laws.

“Respondent’s conduct in this regard appears to be that of the animals who are more equal than others. The law puts everyone at par, and the respondent should not be allowed to gain an unfair advantage over others,” said Mr Majatame.

He submitted that Zimbabwe was experiencing cash problems and that Multichoice’s conduct had an effect of promoting black market.

“Applicant implores the court to take judicial notice of the liquidity crunch that our country is facing now.Cash in US dollars is now a scarce commodity. The conduct by the respondent of demanding US dollars only for its DSTV services promotes black market which is more averse to our country and economy,” said Majatame.

“Respondent is a service company operating in Zimbabwe and it enjoys not only a monopoly, it also enjoys oligopoly hence it feels like it is a big boy in town and can disrespect its customers and the lawmakers in whichever way without it being reprimanded.”

Multichoice is yet to respond to the application.

Zimbabweans spent $45 million on DStv payments in the second half of last year as the country grappled with a worsening cash crunch.

The government believed this money should be used to import key raw materials.

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