BY SILAS NKALA
Bulawayo Labour Court judge Mercy Moya-Matshanga on Thursday reserved judgment for the second time in the case of Innscor Africa Limited and Innscor Africa Bread Company Zimbabwe former southern region sales and marketing manager Paul Chimboya, who is suing the company for US$308 000 damages following his dismissal in 2017.
The first time that the judge reserved judgment on the same case was on November 26 last year following submission by both parties in court.
Chimboya recently received notification to attend a hearing at the labour court on January 20.
“You are hereby notified that the matter concerning Chimboya vs Innscor Africa Ltd … to which you are party … shall be heard before the Labour Court … on January 20 at 9am. If as a party you fail to attend the hearing at the time and place notified, the hearing may proceed without you to the possible detriment of your interests,” the notice reads.
Chimboya’s lawyers from Chikwangwani Tapi Attorneys wrote a letter dated January 14 to the Registrar of the Labour Court contesting the notification.
“We refer specifically to the notice received … on January 13 for hearing on January 20. On the last hearing date … in November 26, 2021, … both parties presented their arguments and judgment was reserved on the basis that the respondents were to file a payslip showing that applicant was paid wages for the month of December 2017,” the letter reads.
“After the … payslip was served on us, we have been awaiting the judgment. We are hereby seeking clarification on whether or not the notice of set down … was made in error. If it was not made in error, we seek to clarify on what the court requires us to address on it. It is our kind request that we receive a response by Tuesday January 18 to enable us to adequately prepare for the hearing.”
In response to Chimboya’s letter, the Deputy Registrar of the Labour Court, one C Kaneta said: “The notice of set down date was not sent erroneously. The judge seeks clarity on the points in limine (preliminary points) raised regarding the issue of applicant’s salary.”
After submission on Thursday, Moya-Matshanga then reserved judgment indefinitely.
The matter had been brought back to court after a year of deadlock on out-of-court settlement negotiations.
Chimboya was fired on December 27, 2017 on allegations of sabotaging the company following the circulation of a letter deemed offensive to the firm.
In 2020, the parties engaged in negotiations for out-of-court settlement after agreeing on the removal of the case from the court roll.
During the out-of-court settlement, the company offered to pay Chimbayo $972 000 as an out of court settlement against his claim of US$308 000.
The Supreme Court ruled in 2019 that Chimboya should be reinstated to his position with all benefits.
It also said that if reinstatement was not possible, the company should pay him damages.