Harare ex-town clerk loses court challenge

Source: Harare ex-town clerk loses court challenge | Newsday (News)

High Court judge Justice David Mangota has dismissed an application by former Harare town clerk Josephine Ncube challenging her suspension by ex-mayor Bernard Manyenyeni.

BY CHARLES LAITON

Ncube, who is also chamber secretary, had argued that her suspension in January 2018 was not in accordance with section 140 of the Urban Councils Act and, as such, must be declared unlawful, null and void.

But Justice Mangota dismissed her application with costs, saying she had failed to support her case with relevant statutes.

“The applicant (Ncube) appears to have prepared and filed her case in a hurry. She did not develop the theme of her argument. She left it hanging in the air, so to speak. She did not rebut the respondent’s assertions which, in all respects, she should have rebutted,” Justice Mangota said.

“She did not refer me to any rule, regulations or law which prohibits an employer from suspending its worker when the latter is on sick leave. She did not refer me to any rule, regulation or law which prevents an employer from inviting its worker who is on sick leave to a disciplinary hearing.”

The judge said all Ncube managed to do in respect of her matter was to accuse the City of Harare of not having complied with the procedural requirements of the country’s labour laws.

“She did not state what those labour laws were or are. She left that very important matter to the court to guess what she exactly meant to convey to it. She put up a very poor show. She did so much to her unfortunate detriment … the applicant failed to prove her case on a balance of probabilities. The same stands on nothing. It is, accordingly, dismissed with costs,” he said.

On the contrary, the judge said the City of Harare managed to precisely articulate its argument and convinced the court that its decision to suspend her was above board.

“The respondent (City of Harare), in my view, must have agonised over the invidious position in which it found itself. It must, therefore, have done its homework and discovered the existence of another law, which, in its view, would assist it to bring about the result which it intended,” he said.

“As long, therefore, as the law it came up with was supportive of its case legally, it cannot be faulted for having departed from the Urban Councils Act in preference to the Labour Act as read with Statutory Instrument 15 of 2006.”

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