Econet sued

Source: Econet sued | The Herald September 3, 2016

Daniel Nemukuyu : Senior Court Reporter

ECONET Wireless has been taken to the High Court for allegedly defying an order compelling it to pay subscriptions to the National Employment Council (NEC) for Communications and Allied Services. If the mobile phone network provider is found guilty of contempt of court, the NEC wants the court to impose a fine of $3 million on the “defiant” company.Econet is locked up in a dispute with the NEC over payment of employers’ subscriptions in terms of a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) published under Statutory Instrument (SI) 1 of 2012.

A High Court judge last year ruled that Econet must first comply with the law and challenge it with clean hands.

Econet appealed to the Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of the SI.

The Supreme Court confirmed the findings of the High Court and jijio99i90i99 the company had no right of audience.

After the dismissal of the appeal, the NEC for Communications and Allied Services made fruitless efforts to have the court order enforced.

Faced with resistance, the NEC for Communication and Allied Services last week filed an application for the company to be convicted for contempt of court.

The NEC is represented by Matsikidze and Mucheche law firm.

The CBA, published under Statutory Instrument 1 of 2012, compels all employers in the communication industry to register with the NEC for Communications and Allied Services within a month of the publication of the law but Econet did not comply.

Instead, the cellular communications giant contested the certificate of registration of the NEC. Government confirmed that the NEC’s certificate was genuine and that Econet must comply.

Econet did not register with the NEC or pay its union dues protesting that the promulgation of SI 1 of 2012 was irregular and invalid. Econet, through its lawyers Mtetwa and Nyambirai Legal Practitioners, filed a High Court application to nullify the sections of the CBA.

The High Court ruled that Econet’s hands were dirty and the company could not be heard by a court of law until it cleansed itself.

The judge held that the SI in question was already law, which must be complied with until a time when it is nullified. Econet appealed to the Supreme Court.

The court said all questioned laws and administrative Acts enjoy a presumption of validity until declared otherwise by a competent court. The country’s largest mobile network operator was disputing the requirement that it registers and pays subscription to the NEC arguing that the provisions for such demands had either been repealed or did not exist.