Blundering council costs ratepayers $1m
The blundering MDC-T-led Harare City Council is set to cost ratepayers over $1 million after making flawed decisions on the contracts of its two former senior employees. The city was recently ordered to reinstate its finance director Mr Justice Mandizha to his position or pay him $760 000 in damages and is also set to pay former NMBZ Bank chief executive Mr James Mushore more than $200 000.
Local Government, Public Works and National Housing permanent secretary Engineer George Mlilo yesterday said Harare’s decisions were costing council.
“It is unfortunate that they do the things they like and not what they are supposed to do. We will hear the submissions they are going to make to us on the matters and we will react appropriately,” he said.
Harare spurned its parent ministry’s advice that Mr Mushore’s appointment was illegal and rushed to give him the coveted position of Harare town clerk.
Mr Mushore wrote a piece of history by becoming the shortest serving Harare town clerk after he was appointed and fired the same day.
Government rescinded his appointment just a few hours after council announced his appointment because the local authority flouted procedures of appointment as laid out in the Urban Councils Act and court processes ensued.
According to the law in question, council was supposed to submit three candidates to the Local Government Board for approval.
Mr Mushore approached the High Court after acting mayor Clr Chris Mbanga locked him out of his office and although the High Court dismissed his application with costs, it ruled that Mr Mushore was entitled to his salary and benefits.
His benefits included fuel, airtime and an official vehicle.
Council appeared before a labour officer attempting to amicably resolve the matter with Mr Mushore, but they could not agree and the parties had since argued the matter and were awaiting the labour officer’s ruling.
In Mr Mandizha’s case, Labour Court judge Justice Lawrence Murasi recently confirmed the decision reached by labour officer Mr Faith Mupangami, who found that Mr Mandizha’s contract of employment had been terminated unlawfully.
Mr Mandizha was reportedly fired for failing to steer the city out of debt and not doing enough to reduce ballooning salary arrears.
However, Mr Mandizha argued that his dismissal was unlawful on the basis that no proper assessment or evaluation of his contract of employment was ever done.