Fired director seeks $750 000 damages
Former Harare City Council finance director Mr Justin Mandizha has given the city an ultimatum to pay him a whopping $750 000 in damages or reinstate him with immediate effect.
Mr Mandizha was reportedly fired for failing to steer the city out of debt and not doing enough to reduce ballooning salary arrears.
He has asked the city to reinstate him in a letter addressed to Mayor Bernard Manyenyeni.
Mr Mandizha, who is citing unlawful termination of contract, says the “purported” termination of his contract was unlawful on the basis that no proper assessment or evaluation of his contract of employment was ever done.
“On May 18, 2016 the Acting Town Clerk (Mrs Josephine Ncube) and the Human Resources Department unlawfully terminated my contract on the basis that I had failed to perform, this allegedly following assessment.
“Assuming that it was terminated on notice such termination is still unlawful on the grounds that there was never mutual termination. The termination is contrary to Section 4a of the Labour Amendment Act No. 5.
“In light of the above, I pray that the termination of my contract be set aside and I be reinstated to my position without loss of salary and benefits from the date of the unlawful termination failure of which I should be paid damages in lieu of reinstatement,” he said.
He said the compensation should be $760 000 and other benefits.
The city’s Human Resources Committee met and decided to cut short Mr Mandizha’s performance-based contract.
Councillors who attended the meeting that led to his dismissal say there was a consensus among councillors that Mr Mandizha had not met any of his set targets.
Mr Mandizha joined Harare last year after a short stint with Cashflow Solutions (Pvt) Limited, immediately after his tenure with the United Nations, where he acquired the bulk of his working experience.
He worked with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) before landing the council post.
Councillors blamed Mr Mandizha for the city’s worsening salary arrears.
When he became the finance director the city was two months behind in paying salaries to its workers.
By the time he was suspended workers had gone for four months without salary.