City official’s disciplinary proceedings halted

Source: City official’s disciplinary proceedings halted | Herald (Africa)

Herald Reporter 

The Labour Court has stopped disciplinary proceedings by the City of Harare with regards to principal housing director Mr Edgar Dzehonye, pending a determination by the same court over an application seeking to remove the chairperson of the disciplinary committee.

This comes as Mr Dzehonye’s lawyers have written to the Town Clerk asking him to honour his earlier decision to reinstate him while the disciplinary proceedings continue.

Mr Dzehonye has been on suspension following court proceedings with regards to allegations on land allocations, but is on bail.

On 24 December, Town Clerk Mr Hosiah Chisango wrote to Mr Dzehonye cancelling his paid leave citing that Covid-19 had also affected the hearing proceedings, and the High Court had removed part of his bail conditions that barred him from appearing at the offices.

“In the spirit of fair labour practice and respect of human rights, you are hereby notified to proceed to go to work,” he wrote. 

“You are supposed to report to the Human Resources Department for further instructions and possible redeployment in light of the hearing that is still in progress. Please note that the finalisation relating to the allegations levelled against you will proceed whilst you are on duty.”

Mr Dzehonye’s lawyers last month wrote to the Town Clerk indicting that he indeed went to the workplace, but could not access his office because there was someone occupying it. 

“As a matter of fact, our client is aware that on the 17 February 202,1 the Human Resources and General Purposes Committee resolved that your office would implement the decision that our client resumes his duties,” said the lawyers.

“There is no impediment why our client should not resume work and why our client’s office cannot be made vacant for him to return to work. 

“Apart from the fuel benefit, all his other benefits are being availed. These are public funds. Your office as a public office has a duty to ensure that the decisions of the city are in the ratepayers’ interests and in line with the law.”

In his main application at the Labour Court, Mr Dzehonye wants the disciplinary proceedings presided over by Mr Jabulani Duve in respect of the matter between him and the city council set aside in their entirety. 

He also wants Mr Duve to be removed from participating, presiding over and/or influencing the disciplinary proceedings in any manner. Mr Dzehonye wants the City of Harare to be ordered to conduct the disciplinary proceedings in terms of its Code of Conduct, being Statutory Instrument 13 of 2015. 

He accused Mr Duve of alternating the chairmanship of the disciplinary committee with Mr Obert Mutonhori without tendering any explanation. 

Mr Dzehonye accused Mr Duve of insisting and ordering proceedings of the disciplinary hearing to go ahead even if there was no quorum. He said the hearing had lapsed 30 days since commencement, a move that required it to be referred to a designated agent.

Mr Dzehonye cited incidents such as that when his attorney requested for the matter to be deferred on account of her visible illness, Mr Duve insisted on proceeding with the hearing, showing his impartially.