|Supreme Court reserves judgment in Chombo’s case|
|Thursday, 21 June 2012 12:00|
THE Supreme Court has reserved judgment in a case in which Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo is seeking to quash the decision by the High Court to reinstate the four councillors fired by the Harare city council’s disciplinary committee.
Silas Machetu, Maxwell Katsande, Paul Gorekore and Johnson Zaranyika were dismissed following a disciplinary hearing and a report by the chairperson of the committee Mr Munamato Mutevedzi.
Katsande, Gorekore and Machetu were found guilty of receiving stands outside their wards in breach of a council resolution while Zaranyika was found guilty of failing to assist a family that was facing eviction in his ward.
Zaranyika’s wife actually moved into the disputed house after the same family had been evicted.
The High Court ordered the reinstatement of the quartet on the basis that Minister Chombo’s decision was grossly unreasonable and irrational.
Minister Chombo and chairperson of the committee Mr Mutevedzi, through their lawyer Mr Terrence Hussein filed an appeal at the Supreme Court seeking to overturn the lower court’s decision.
Mr Hussein argued that the High Court erred by reviewing an investigation. He said the committee was correct in dismissing the four because they had flouted the regulations.
Mr Hussein said the four were not ordinary residents but councillors who formulate the policies and that they could not have accepted the stands that were outside their wards.
However, Mr Alec Muchadehama defended the lower court’s decision saying it was proper. He said his clients did not know that it was wrong to receive stands outside their wards because the resolution was passed in 2003 well before they were elected councillors.
Mr Muchadehama said the fact that council officials who thought it was proper did the allocation exonerated his clients.
Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba sitting with justices Anne-Mary Gowora and Yunus Omerjee reserved the judgment to a later date after hearing arguments from both parties.