4 February 2013

Zimbabwe: Anti-Graft Commission Gets 90-Day Ultumatum

An arbitrator has given the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission 90 days to come up with proper conditions of service for its investigators and intelligence officers saying the commission's human resources is in shambles.

Mr Rodgers Matsikidze made the ruling last week in a case in which ZACC investigators were suing their employer over poor conditions of service.

In his ruling, Mr Matsikidze blasted ZACC for poor human resource keeping and haphazard implementation of labour processes.

The arbitrator found that the investigators, for nearly 10 years, had been operating without defined conditions, a development that resulted in them being treated as civil servants.

The investigators are taking home between US$200 and US$300 monthly.

They took the matter for arbitration after complaining of the non-existence of the conditions and unfair labour practices emanating from that loophole.

Contracts of employment for the investigators and intelligence officers, according to the workers lawyer, Mr Joel Mambara, were being unlawfully varied time and again.

"With greatest respect, there is a lot of confusion with regards to entitlements of the claimants (26 investigators and intelligence officers) caused by poor human resources keeping," said Mr Matsikidze.

"In this instance the claimants were initially offered a three-month contract, then after that they were given an offer for employment. Thirdly, they were then confirmed.

"At law, what starts is an offer for employment. This offer should then be followed by a contract of employment if the offer is accepted.

"In the contract there will be a probation period and then one is confirmed after successfully completing the probation. In this case, the process seems to be haphazard. . ."

Mr Matsikidze also ordered the commission to pay the investigators all their outstanding allowances.

The allowances and benefits that are still to be quantified, include:

Anti-Corruption allowance

Housing allowance

Transport allowance

Cellphone allowance

The commission should also pay the workers the 13th cheque, medical aid cover and to provide group life cover.

ZACC was also ordered to provide vehicles within a year to some five investigators who were left out when the others were given vehicles through the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe's assistance.

Mr Matsikidze categorically states in his judgment that the ZACC officers were employees of the commission and not the Public Service Commission.

"It is clear that the commission is responsible to set the conditions of service for its employees. The bureaucratic problem is not a defence in our law.

"The commission has to deal with its employees. Whatever happens behind the curtains is not for the employees consumption.

"In that regard, the employer-employee relationship exists between the commission and its employees," read part of the award.

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