30 November 2012

Zimbabwe: Managers, Zesa On Collision Path

SIXTEEN Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company senior managers who successfully challenged their unilateral transfer in the High Court are suing their managing director Mr Julian Chinembiri and Zesa for contempt of court after the latter allegedly refused to comply with a High Court order to stop the transfers.

In his judgment High Court judge Justice Lavender Makoni said: "Pending the finalisation of the complaint of unfair labour practice at the Ministry of Labour and Social Services, the ZETDC and Zesa are hereby ordered to forthwith cease the unilateral transfers of the applicants from their current work stations." Mr Chinembiri professed ignorance over the transfers when contacted for comment by the Herald.

"I am not aware of the transfers," he said.

He also said he was also not aware that the managers were suing for contempt of court.

The Herald is reliably informed that management insisted on transferring the managers and barred them from entering their offices when they reported for duty. Management proceeded to suspend four of the 16 managers without benefits for refusal to follow a lawful order.

Among the suspended are Masvingo and Eastern region network managers Mrs Jacqueline Hlatshwayo and Mr John Dembaremba.

In a letter to one of the network managers dated September 18, 2012 Mr Chinembiri wrote: "We have taken the view that it is desirable to transfer all our network managers to various stations for the following reasons -- to give managers a broader insight of ZETDC operations across the country. The transfer aims at broadening your current business initiatives."

Mr Chinembiri said the transfers were also expected to enhance operational efficiency.

An arbitrator declared the transfers invalid until ZETDC consulted the aggrieved managers.

"The respondent (ZETDC) is further ordered that the decision to transfer the claimants they had made is invalid and therefore without force or effect for the decision was made without observing the principles of natural justice and the doctrine of legitimate expectation," reads the arbitral award by a Mr Shawatu.

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