30 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Municipality Contests Labour Court Ruling

Masvingo Council has filed an application at the High Court contesting a recent Labour Court ruling that gave its workers the green light to attach and auction council property to recover salary arrears amounting to US$3,5 million.

Masvingo City Council Workers' Committee, Zimbabwe Urban Council Workers' Union and Labour Court President Loice Matanda-Moyo were listed as respondents in the matter.

President Matanda-Moyo was the one who rescinded an earlier order she gave in error.

The "erroneous" order had been made in favour of the municipality and it had an effect of stopping the sale of council property in settlement of the US$3,5 million debt.

In the High Court, council argues that the Labour Court had no power to rescind its own earlier decision.

"She (President Matanda-Moyo) purported to exercise a common law power to rescind a judgment made in error, which power cannot be exercised by the Labour Court or a President of the Labour Court.

"Such power can only be exercised by a court of inherent jurisdiction, which the Labour Court is not," read part of the application.

City of Masvingo argues that it was never granted an opportunity to be heard in the proceedings that led to the rescission of the judgment.

It is also council's argument that the whole process was riddled with irregularities and that it should also be rescinded.

Masvingo has so far lost several urgent chamber applications to stop execution of the US$3,5 million award at the High Court and it had turned to the Labour Court through a different application.

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