Zanaco defends itself against wheelchair law suit

Zanaco defends itself against wheelchair law suit

ZANACO has defended itself against a suit by Joseph Moyo that it causes him pain and emotional stress by not providing a conducive environment for him to access banking services as he is wheelchair bound.
On March 29, in a writ of summons filed in the Livingstone High Court through his lawyer Major (retired) Isaac Masonga of KBF and Partners, Moyo of House Number 45 Chisamba Way, asked the court to order Zanaco to construct necessary and reasonable passage for usage by people of reduced mobility like himself so as to access banking services.
In his 9-point statement of claim against Zanaco, Moyo says he has been the bank’s client since 2015 and has a personal and a business account with the financial institution.
He added that he has had to be lifted by people while on his wheelchair for him to gain entry into the bank.
Moyo further indicated that he has had to endure pain as a result of being lifted on his wheelchair due to his health condition and that this process also robs him his dignity.
He averred that on numerous times, he has had to rely on other people, usually strangers, to transact on his behalf thereby compromising his financial privacy and also a risk to his life.
Moyo is claiming damages due to Zanaco’s negligence to enable him access banking facilities and also compensation for pain, stress, indignity, inconvenience and violation of his rights as a result of the failure by the bank to construct a ramp.
Last week, another Livingstone resident, James Chewe, bemoaned the lack of ramps to public buildings in the tourist capital, especially to banks such as Zanaco, Atlasmara and Investrust.
The Livingstone City Council has since appealed to business houses in the tourist capital to build ramps to enable people with disability to access their services.
The council’s public relations officer Melvin Mukela said the onus of providing such points was with the owners of the business premises.
He added that the owners of public buildings were aware that there were people with different physical challenges and thus it was the responsibility of each business premises to services to carter for all people.
But in its 11-point defence filed by its advocate Sandra Wamulume, Zanaco denied ever causing Moyo pain.
“The defendant denies the contents…and will say that the plaintiff has neither suffered damages, pain, emotional stress, indignity, inconvenience and no violation of any rights. It remains the plaintiff’s choice not to use other alternatives provided for him to access the banking services and the defendant’s cannot be held
responsible,” Zanaco stated.
The bank added that it could not be held responsible for any pain that the plaintiff might have endured.
Zanaco further suggested that Moyo could use other alternative channels such as Zanaco Express Agents located within the central business district.
However, the bank did not indicate whether these agents have ramps that could be accessed by people with disabilities and were wheelchair bound.
“The defendants aver in the further alternative that the plaintiff has a choice when he wants to use the Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) as his ATM card is VISA enabled, allowing him to transfer on any ATM VISA enabled machine or visit any other Zanaco Express Agent as aforesaid to access any services on his accounts,” Zanaco stated.
Zanaco further adds that it is not obliged to provide ATMs as this was just another channel of accessing banking services and therefore on this basis the plaintiff cannot derive a right of claim that he has been negatively impacted.
Zanaco added that accessibility to banking services is not limited to the building where the defendant is housed.
“The defendant has for a long time engaged agents to provide banking services on the defendant’s behalf thereby making the banking services more accessible to carter for the plaintiff and other patrons with reduced mobility, who are in need of such services,” Zanaco states.
The bank denied each and every allegation in Moyo’s
suit as if the same were pleaded and traversed seriatim

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