Lovemore Meya Court Correspondent
The hearing date of the case in which Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe, publishers of the Daily News, is being sued by seven journalists who are seeking reinstatement has been set for February 24.
The seven employees were fired using the Supreme Court ruling of July 17 2015 which allowed firms to give their workers three months’ notice without offering any explanation.
The journalists — Lizzie Mawarura, Margaret Chinowaita, Kudzai Chawafambira, Lloyd Mbiba, Wendy Muperi, Sandra Mtetwa and Albert Masaka — were on July 23 served with termination notices along with Ray Matikinye, Godfrey Mutimba, Nyasha Chingono and 13 other workers.
The journalists’ defence counsel, Mr Tonderai Bhatasara of Mupangi, Bhatasara Attorneys, confirmed the setting of the date, saying this comes after they had filed their heads of arguments.
“Yes, I can confirm that the hearing date has been set down after we have filed our heads of arguments last year with the respondents Mbidzo Muchadahama and Makoni Legal Practitioners doing the same,” he said.
In their application, the journalists are asking the court to set aside their dismissal and order their reinstatement.
They argue that ANZ breached their rights in terms of the Constitution and were, therefore, entitled to approach the apex court for relief under Section 85 of the country’s supreme law.
“It is our contention that at first instance, the purported termination on notice breached our right to equal protection and benefit of the law as defined in Section 56(1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe,” argued Mawarura in her affidavit filed with the court.
“Part of the protection of the law which we were denied was the protection of Section 12(C) of the Labour Act (Chapter 28:01). We contend that the respondent’s claim that our dismissal was covered by Section 12(4) of the Act was wrong and illegitimate.”
That provision, Mawarura contends, only applies where the termination is neither misconduct nor economic reasons.