NetOne fires sick employee

Lloyd Gumbo Herald Reporter
NetOne has refused to retire a chronic diabetic and hypertensive employee despite several medical practitioners recommending the same, documents seen by The Herald show.
Instead of retiring former Matabeleland regional manager Mr Douglas Mufunda (59), who had a prostate operation, NetOne management suspended him and later “dismissed” him.

Mr Mufunda, who had running battles with NetOne at the Arbitration Tribunal and magistrates’ courts, was acquitted in all the cases and the arbitrator ordered that he be reinstated.

He has now written to ICT, Postal and Courier Services Minister Webster Shamu seeking his intervention.

In the letter dated November 7, 2013 to Minister Shamu, Mr Mufunda accused NetOne management of victimising him.

“Cde Sir, I am diabetic, hypertensive and have post-accident injuries. In August 2012, I had a prostate surgery.

“During the same month of August, my doctor advised me to be retired from employment on medical grounds.

“My employer, NetOne, responded by sending me, as a procedure, before a medical board.

“I appeared before the board as had been directed by my employer, a report was made available to the employer immediately,” said Mr Mufunda.

The medical board recommended that he be retired, but NetOne said he must see another doctor of their choice.

“Before implementation of the medical board’s recommendations . . . they still went on to suspend and dismiss me from employment whilst I was sick and hospitalised.

“Since October 2011, I have never rested and the employer is determined to bury me without benefits.

“The employer has taken up the cases on which I was acquitted back for arbitration with the hope that I be found guilty so that I am dismissed without benefits,” said Mr Mufunda.

A medical report by Dr TA Muradzi on August 30, 2012 said Mr Mufunda had chronic hypertension and diabetes, and suffered from severe headaches and periodic lapses in concentration.

“Recently he developed gallstones and an enlarged prostate of which they were operated upon.

“For the sake of his health, I have advised him to retire on medical grounds,” said Dr Muradzi.

After seeing the medical report, NetOne’s acting human resources manager, Ms Paulyn Shonhiwa, said an appointment had been made for Mr Mafunda to see a medical board at West End Clinic.

The medical board, composed of doctors IT Gangaidzo (specialist physician) and MN Chimedza (family practitioner), concluded that Mr Mufunda’s medical condition made it virtually impossible for him to continue in normal employment.

“The employer is advised to retire Mr Mufunda on medical grounds at the earliest practical time,” they concluded on October 9, 2012.

But Ms Shonhiwa instructed Mr Mufunda on October 24, 2012 to undergo another medical examination by a Dr Kambarami.

Dr Kambarami on November 6, 2012 said: “I recommend that he be retired early on medical grounds as he is certainly unable to do a decent day’s work in his condition.

“His health problems will most likely deteriorate with time.”

However, on October 30, 2012 NetOne corporate sales manager, Mr Prosper Muvengwa, wrote to Mr Mufunda saying he had been suspended for misconduct arising from preliminary findings of forensic audit that said he was engaged in corruption.

Bulawayo magistrate Ms Gladmore Mushove acquitted Mr Mufunda of the charges last year.

Another magistrate, Mr Crispen Mberewere, acquitted Mr Mufunda of another charge of allegedly writing off a debt without his superior’s knowledge.

NetOne managing director Mr Reward Kangai told The Herald of Mr Mafunda: “That guy has an issue going back to 2010 and he was properly dismissed through a disciplinary process. The matter is before arbitration.

“He was overcharging customers and a forensic audit found that he had misappropriated a lot of money.

“We were acting in the public interest because they were complaining so we could not keep it under the carpet.

“There is no question of him being victimised.

“I had nothing against the individual,” said Mr Kangai.

Mr Mufunda said, “I have been denied proper medical attention because I haven’t been paid for the past 17 months while at the same time they denied me medical benefits.

“That is why I appealed to Minister Shamu to help me but it appears everyone is waiting for me to perish.

“I worked for NetOne for 12 years and this is how they are rewarding me.”

Efforts to get a comment from Minister Shamu were fruitless.

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  • Popiro

    give munhu mari yake…. anofa mange mange

  • MkanyaGP

    Interesting………I hope this guy is not trying to retire graciously because he has a disciplinary record as stated by Kangai

    “”That guy has an issue going back to 2010 and he was properly
    dismissed through a disciplinary process. The matter is before

    “He was overcharging customers and a forensic audit found that he had misappropriated a lot of money.

    “We were acting in the public interest because they were complaining so we could not keep it under the carpet”"

  • rukudzo

    Quiet Frankly I don’t expect it from a person carrying a name of a hero. We should be sympathetic to our people. Mr Kangai should Reward this gentlemen and “bury” him with benefits.

    • Cde Ticha

      Here is a thief who was stealing from the public and now that he squandered all the ill gotten money, he wants the same public he was stealing from to give him a retirement package, that’s ridiculous. Musazo complainer kana vana Cashbert vaakuti vanoda mamil;lion avo e retirement. Mbavha should be fired without any benefits.

      • rukudzo

        Well if he was a thief did Net one lay those charges? If what you are saying is true, then that should be part of the labour tribunal discussions between Netone & their former worker.

      • Jotham

        Regedza moyo webwe . You must sympathise with those in need of help.

  • Macharangwanda

    He might want to write a letter to prof Jonso not Shamu

  • Jojo WaMoyo

    Black man vs black man. If the man had issues dating back to 2010 why was he being tossed around in 2012? They recommended a medical board and later a medical practitioner of their choice; what were they trying to prove? Pane zviripo apa, Minister ngava tsvagiridze.

  • Kavhu

    What sort of a heartless street-woman is this woman ? As for Kangai, I think looking kumasure kwake in the Salaries Gate, Tender Gate mode would not do the nation harm !

  • mandinzwa

    how on earth do yu expect corrupt pple like SHAMHU to help u. open yo eyes, asi uri we zanupf.

  • John Rambo

    Ipai munhu mari yake otherwise we will land on you toona kuti masalaries enyu akamira sei

  • Prisca

    asi makabhadharwa kani Herald, imi hamuone unhu hwemunhu uyu kuti hune maburi

  • maita

    Another probe team for netone to check the bosses’ salaries.

  • Wilson Magaya

    This is a true test to the systems a state needs to ensure a great foundation for development. These are the judiciary and the press. The judiciary has shown the employee should be retired having gone through the procedure needed to see it happen and Netone for reasons unknown have stayed the course that they should fire the employee.

    Now the press has brought this issue to the public so that we bear witness that the agreed procedures (rules and regulations) are followed and the institutions charged with implementation are respected. I think the CEO should have stayed out and waited for due process and then as CEO use the arrangements to bring closure. He has personalized this and as a concerned citizen I wonder why????