Innocent Ruwende Municipal Reporter—
Harare City Council has terminated town clerk Dr Tendai Mahachi’s contract on three months’ notice in line with the July 17 Supreme Court ruling on common law contracts of employment.
The decision follows Dr Mahachi’s demands for a $3 million golden handshake from the city as a pre-condition for him to quit. Council officials yesterday said the decision was reached during the human resources and general purposes committee meeting at Town House on Tuesday.
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- Council hunts for new town clerk
- Supreme Court on termination with notice
Dr Mahachi presented 22 demands running into millions of dollars as an exit package to his employer. Top among his demands were $100 000 for every year served, a mansion in Belvedere, and two top-of-the-range SUVs. He joined council in 2007.
This came at a time when the city planned to send home 3 000 workers on three months’ notice devoid of benefits. Dr Mahachi was on forced leave for reportedly stalling the city’s succession plan and rationalisation of executive salaries, among other issues. Chairperson of the human resources and general purposes committee Councillor Wellington Chikombo said the matter was still sub judice for him to comment.
“Without prejudice, this matter is still sub judice to find love in media houses. Commenting would be tantamount to allowing the devil to run away with a Bible from the pulpit,” he said.
Council officials said the committee could not announce the decision because the full council was yet to be briefed on the position. Dr Mahachi’s lawyers, Magwaliba and Kwirira, argued that the demands were based on comparable to packages paid upon termination of contracts for employees in similar positions in other institutions.
They want the city to give Dr Mahachi a Toyota Land Cruiser V8 he was using as well as procure a new motor vehicle, a Jeep Cherokee Overland model. Dr Mahachi also wanted the city to transfer a Belvedere mansion he was supposed to occupy during council service, among other demands. Clr Chikombo described Dr Mahachi’s demands as ‘utopian’.
“I got sight of Dr Mahachi’s letter. It sounds utopian, a fantasy and prefigure,” he said.
Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere said he would allow the city to terminate contracts of employees who were absconding duty or had disciplinary problems. Minister Kasukuwere blocked the city’s plans to terminate the contracts of the 3 000 low-level workers.