High Court reserves council salaries judgment
BULAWAYO High Court judge Justice Maxwell Takuva has reserved judgment in the case of 12 Bulawayo City Council bosses challenging the slashing of their salaries and allowances by the Government.
The reduction of the salaries and perks follows a Ministerial directive to rationalise the remuneration of top council managers by 40 percent of their total package.
The municipality’s senior management under a grouping calling itself, “The Executive Group of the Staff ”, and through its lawyers Calderwood, Bryce Hendrie and Partners, had filed an urgent chamber application at the High Court citing Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere and the Bulawayo City Council as respondents.
The council bosses, through the Executive Group of the Staff chairperson, Mackenzie Widzani Moyo, are seeking an order interdicting their employer from implementing the July 14 resolution to reduce allowances payable to them.
Moyo, who is also the council’s assistant director of Housing and Community Services, in his founding affidavit, said there was no legal basis upon which the ministerial directive was premised.
“It is our contention that while the Minister’s powers in terms of the Urban Councils Act may be wide in terms of him regulating the activities of local authorities they however, do not allow him to take away rights the local authorities would have lawfully bestowed upon third parties,” argued Moyo.
He said the actions of their employer and the Minister were a violation of their rights in terms of the Labour Act.
“We believe these are rights that may not be taken away from us on the basis of powers of the Minister given to him by the Urban Councils Act. Clearly if on the basis of any other law someone were to say that they are entitled to take away fundamental rights of employees protected by the Labour Act, there would be a conflict between the Labour Act and any other such law that the person would be seeking to rely upon,” said Moyo.
He argued that as a result of the council’s move, they stood to be prejudiced of their income and also risked being sued by creditors if their commitments were not met fully.
Kimpton Zenzo Ndimande (finance director), Simela Dube (director of engineering services), Spekiwa Mugiya (legal officer), Dictor Khumalo (assistant director of housing and community services), Makhosi Tshalebwa (human resources manager) and Richard Peterson (chief fire officer) also filed their supporting affidavits concurring with Moyo.
The other bosses include Masocha Mtshena (assistant director of health services), Tennyson Mpunzi (chief internal auditor), Thabani Ncube (city valuer) and Mpazamiso Ndebele (information and technology manager).
Bulawayo Mayor, Mr Martin Moyo, though a letter dated July 13, 2016, instructed the acting town clerk to implement the council resolution.