Makonde council loses labour case

Walter Nyamukondiwa Chinhoyi Bureau
AN ORDER to freeze the account of the Makonde Roads Fund has been issued to recover more than $300 000 in accrued terminal benefits for eight employees it dismissed.

This puts Makonde Rural District Council on a collision course with the Zimbabwe National Roads Authority should the order be executed as the account is only for periodic disbursements for road maintenance.

The order to CBZ account number 03120713580027 at Mangwa Branch was issued on January 5, 2016 and now awaits execution by the bank. The eight workers are: Kezias Gurajena, Cashwell Nyamadzawo, Ephraim Marunya, Dereck Nyaruwama, Petty Chambara, Sanders Marimbika, Asani Chungwa and Mary Masauti.

They were dismissed in what Makonde RDC said was termination of fixed contracts. The matter was then brought before an independent arbitrator who ruled in the dismissed employees’ favour.

“We act for the applicant in this matter. We ask your good office to proceed and garnish the respondent’s CBZ account. However, it is worth stating that urgency in this matter is of great importance,” reads the order to the Deputy Sheriff Chinhoyi by Lawman Chimuriwo Attorneys at Law.

The letter has since been forwarded to the bank and could be actioned at any time. According to sources in council, the order came from the workers’ legal representatives to the Deputy Sheriff and was taken to CBZ.

The sources said this made it defective at law.

The development comes hard on the heels of another order issued to attach property which was executed in October last year. However, it is said the equipment which included tractors and graders could not offset the amount required to pay $241 140 in damages in lieu of reinstatement and a further $82 070 in back pay for the affected workers.

The arbitrator ruled that the workers were unfairly dismissed and should be reinstated or paid damages in the event that re-engaging them was untenable. The employer did not respond and this was interpreted to mean it was not interested in re-engaging them.

Council chairman Councillor Davet Muzvidwa referred all questions to Makonde RDC chief executive officer Mrs Lahliwe Murefu.

Mrs Murefu was not reachable on her mobile phone.

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