Eddie Chikamhi Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE football endured another sad day as Zifa property worth thousands of dollars, which include an artificial turf donated by Fifa for development purposes, went under the hammer yesterday.
The property was auctioned in Harare yesterday after the association failed to pay a US$88 000 arbitration award given to a former Communications Manager, Nicolette Dhlamini-Moyo, who was unceremoniously dismissed three years ago.
The artificial turf was part of the property sold yesterday which included a tractor and an assortment of furniture that was used for camping facilities at the zifa Village.
The turf was sold for US$115 000 while the tractor fetched US$9 100. The furniture and equipment, which included four double beds, 23 single beds, 76 chairs, 18 tables, one Defy refrigerator, four fans and 10 fire extinguishers, raked in, in excess of US$2 200.
Dhlamini-Moyo said it was sad that the dispute had to be settled in such a manner. Dhlamini-Moyo, who was represented by Kumbirai Masasire of Musoni and Masasire Legal Chambers, was originally awarded around US$12 000 after appealing for unfair dismissal at the Labour Court but the figure has since shot up almost tenfold because of interest and other additional costs.
The former Communications Manager had tried to engage zifa to agree on a payment plan but it appears the association were playing hide and seek.
Her lawyers successfully argued that Dhlamini-Moyo was unfairly dismissed and was entitled to a 30-month back-pay, US$6 000 for not being given notice in advance and another US$6 000 for leave days.
Last year, Dhlamini-Moyo, through her lawyers, were given a writ of execution to attach the zifa property but the items that went to the auction could only raise about US$1 900 from the sale of 23 match balls, fifa bibs, leather sofas, office furniture and football kits.
But following yesterday’s auction, the labour dispute could be approaching its finalisation after raking in, in excess of US$125 000.
“The property was sold but I was not present. zifa caused this on themselves because they tried to play hide and seek. I believe this is the finalisation of the matter but it all depends on how much is realised from the auction.
“The figure has been rising because of interest rates, legal costs and also the auctioneers’ fees.
“If it doesn’t cover all the costs then more property could be attached,” said Dhlamini-Moyo.
zifa are reeling under a huge load of debt and their house in Bulawayo, which was attached over a US$1,5million debt to CBZ Bank, is set to be auctioned next week in an effort to recover the money owed the financial institution.
According to summons filed at the High Court in March last year, zifa entered an agreement which the bank offered the football mother body an overdraft facility.
zifa are trying to engage their debtors but it seems the debts, which are estimated to be hovering over US$5million, are stifling any efforts to get their books in order.
The association’s president Cuthbert Dube last month had his personal property nearly carted away by the Deputy Sheriff over the organisation’s failure to pay US$281 000 owed to Pandhari Lodge.
The property included four vehicles and household furniture.