Zimbabwe: Court Dismisses ZCTU Vaccination Challenge

A Zimbabwean receives a Covid-19 vaccine jab at Wilkins Hospital - Zimbabwe’s main vaccination centre in Harare (file photo).
15 September 2021

The High Court Application by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union (ZCTU) for an order blocking companies from forcing their employees to undergo mandatory Covid-19 vaccination has been struck off the urgent cases roll.

Justice Emilia Muchawa has ruled that the matter is not urgent and "cannot jump the queue".

The judge, in a ruling delivered Tuesday morning, said the application by ZCTU was based on assumptions rendering it non urgent.

She said the ZCTU did not act swiftly when company notices were issued.

"The certificate of urgency on record is silent on the delay in acting from around 22 July when all but one of the respondents issued their staff notices. It does not mention any dates relating to when the cause of action was complete and the need to act therefore arose," the judge said.

"The applicant alleged in the certificate of urgency, that the respondents were conducting themselves as alleged, with a view to terminating the unvaccinated employees contracts unlawfully. This irreparable prejudice is merely speculative as nothing is alleged about what happened to employees after the deadlines came and passed before the lodging of the application," she added.

The explanation for the delay should have appeared in the certificate of urgency and the founding affidavit.

"It did not. There is no evidence of the applicant having treated the matter urgently."

ZCTU last month filed an urgent chamber application at the High Court seeking an order stopping employers from forcing their unvaccinated employees from reporting for duty.

The application is also accusing the government of 'folding hands' while employers are being forced to take Covid-19 vaccines arguing that the constitutional rights implicated are fundamental and the harm is irreparable.

Labour Minister, Attorney General of Zimbabwe, ZIMNAT Insurance Company, Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara), Telone, Windmill, SEEDCO Zimbabwe and Manicaland State University of Applied Sciences are cited as 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th Respondents Respectively.

In the court papers ZCTU is arguing that some employers, as a response to the 3rd wave of the covid-19 pandemic, are prohibiting their unvaccinated employees from reporting for work or from continuing with the performance of their obligations under their contracts of employment is unconstitutional.

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