Labour Court or­ders Min­is­ter to re­in­state fired head­mas­ter

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Mashudu Net­sianda Se­nior Court Re­porter

THE Labour Court has or­dered the Min­is­ter of Pri­mary and Sec­ondary Ed­u­ca­tion, Pro­fes­sor Paul Mav­ima, to im­me­di­ately re­in­state a Kezi school head­mas­ter who was re­cently fired for re­sist­ing to be trans­ferred.

Mr Ezekiel Hleza, who was a head­mas­ter at Tshe­lanyemba High School in Ma­tobo district, was fired in Jan­uary this year af­ter defying an or­der by the min­istry to trans­fer him to Siyoka Sec­ondary School in Beit­bridge district.

The rul­ing by Bu­l­awayo Labour Court judge Jus­tice Mercy Moya-Mat­shanga fol­lows an ap­pli­ca­tion for re­view by Mr Hleza through his lawyer, Mr Ed­son Matika of Mun­yaradzi Gwi­sai and Part­ners, chal­leng­ing the de­ci­sion by his su­pe­ri­ors to trans­fer him.

In pa­pers be­fore the court, Prof Mav­ima and the Civil Ser­vice Com­mis­sion (CSC) were cited as re­spon­dents.

Jus­tice Moya-Mat­shanga ruled that the de­ci­sion of the re­spon­dents was un­law­ful and un­jus­ti­fied. She set aside the trans­fer and or­dered the re­spon­dents to im­me­di­ately re­in­state Mr Hleza to his post.

“It is hereby or­dered that the ap­pli­ca­tion for re­view be and is hereby granted. The de­ci­sion by the re­spon­dents to trans­fer the ap­pli­cant to Siyoka Sec­ondary School be and is hereby set aside. The no­tice of dis­charge of ap­pli­cant from ser­vice by the re­spon­dents be and is hereby set aside,” ruled Jus­tice Moya-Mat­shanga.

In his grounds of ap­peal, Mr Hleza ar­gued that his trans­fer and sub­se­quent dis­charge from the civil ser­vice was un­law­ful, un­jus­ti­fied and an act of vic­tim­i­sa­tion by his su­pe­ri­ors. He said his em­ploy­ers did not act in good faith when they dis­charged him from ser­vice, ar­gu­ing that he was not fur­nished with rea­sons for the trans­fer, which was done at short no­tice.

The re­spon­dents, through the At­tor­ney­Gen­eral’s Of­fice, ar­gued that sec­tion 13 of the Pub­lic Ser­vice Com­mis­sion Reg­u­la­tions, Statu­tory In­stru­ment 1 of 2000 states that a mem­ber may at any time be trans­ferred by the com­mis­sion or a del­e­gated au­thor­ity from the post which he oc­cu­pies to any other post in the pub­lic ser­vice whether the post is in­side or out­side Zim­babwe.

How­ever, sub-sec­tion 3 (a) of sec­tion 13 of the Pub­lic Ser­vice Com­mis­sion Reg­u­la­tions states that the trans­fer should be planned to min­imise dis­com­fort on the part of the mem­ber con­cerned and his fam­ily and should be no­ti­fied timeously to the mem­ber con­cerned who shall be pro­vided with all nec­es­sary in­for­ma­tion re­lat­ing to the trans­fer.

The act­ing pro­vin­cial ed­u­ca­tion direc­tor for Mata­bele­land South, Mr Li­fias Ma­sukume, ar­gued that the trans­fer was in line with the Pub­lic Ser­vice Reg­u­la­tions.

The trans­fer was fol­lowed by a ces­sa­tion of salary no­tice and sub­se­quently a dis­charge let­ter.

The let­ter stated that the trans­fer was sup­posed to be with im­me­di­ate ef­fect and Mr Hleza was to as­sume duty at the new sta­tion the fol­low­ing day on Jan­uary 23.

Jus­tice Moya-Mat­shanga said in dis­miss­ing Mr Hleza, the re­spon­dents failed to com­ply with sec­tion 13 (3) of the Pub­lic Ser­vice Com­mis­sion Reg­u­la­tions.

“The ap­pli­cant was no­ti­fied on 22 Jan­uary to re­port to an­other school in an­other district the fol­low­ing day. The rea­son for the trans­fer is not dis­closed.

“The dis­com­fort he would suf­fer to­gether with his fam­ily was not con­sid­ered,” she said.

“In short the trans­fer was not planned at all and it would ap­pear there was an el­e­ment of ur­gency and se­cre­tive­ness be­cause first of all some­body was brought to re­place the ap­pli­cant un­be­known to him and he was given 24 hours to up­root him­self, his fam­ily and prop­erty at his ex­pense to a far flung district.”

The judge said sec­tion 13 (4) pro­vides that no trans­fer shall be used as a puni­tive mea­sure ex­cept pur­suant to the dis­ci­plinary pro­ce­dures.

Mr Hleza said he was shocked when a new head­mas­ter, Mr Ngo­neni Moyo, was de­ployed to his school on Jan­uary 15, a few days be­fore his trans­fer, to re­place him.

“As if that was not enough, on 2 Fe­bru­ary 2018, our client was served with a no­tice of ces­sa­tion of salary and threats of dis­ci­plinary ac­tion be­ing taken against him. The ces­sa­tion of salary was to take ef­fect by Fe­bru­ary 5, 2018,” said Mr Matika. — @mash­nets UMGUZA Ru­ral District Coun­cil has spent about $1,15 mil­lion up­grad­ing some of its roads over the past few months, a se­nior of­fi­cial said yes­ter­day.

District Works En­gi­neer, Mrs Queen Masocha said the lo­cal au­thor­ity was tar­ring three key roads that were gravel as well as re­seal­ing some sec­tions.

Coun­cil, she said has re­sealed 5km of Hope Foun­tain Road in Dou­glas­dale at a cost of $400 000. One of the most im­por­tant roads in the district, Hope Foun­tain Road stretches from Water­ford sub­urb, south of Bu­l­awayo to Hope Foun­tain Mis­sion.

About 2,6km of Baron­vale, also in Dou­glas­dale, she added has been sur­faced at a cost of $250 000 while $250 000 has been spent on a 1,6km stretch of Sil­ver Oak Road.

She said: “We sur­faced the roads with dou­ble seal. St Martin’s in Ward 16 two kilo­me­tres will be done at a cost of $250 000. We did the first part of sur­fac­ing called prim­ing, then two days later, by Wed­nes­day (yes­ter­day) we will do the fi­nal part. This is a project whereby we are re­ha­bil­i­tat­ing a road which was a gravel road and up­grad­ing it into a sur­faced road.”

She said more road works would be done in Montgomery, an agro-res­i­den­tial area north­east of Bu­l­awayo, west of Fair­bridge Po­lice Sta­tion.

“Again this year we will look at other projects in Ward 7, King Fair Road. It has been planned to be sur­faced. One kilo­me­tre will be cov­ered,” she said.

Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa chats with for­mer Zam­bian pres­i­dent Cde Ken­neth Kaunda dur­ing his visit to Zam­bia on Tues­day. — Pic­ture by Joseph Nyadzayo

Pro­fes­sor Paul Mav­ima

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