The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has sacked a Zvishavane magistrate who has been working for the last 33 years without proper qualifications including basic five O Levels.
However, Joe Kabiti is now arguing at the Bulawayo High Court that he should not have been dismissed because he is a war veteran.
Kabiti, a senior magistrate at Zvishavane Magistrates’ Court, was dismissed for failing to academically upgrade himself.
He took his case to the Bulawayo High Court last week seeking an interdict barring JSC from firing him.
He argued that as a war veteran he enjoyed “privilege” to remain employed despite “lacking” the requisite qualifications.
Masvingo Mirror, reported based on a letter from the JSC, that the only qualification that Kabiti holds is a certificate of community court obtained from Domboshava Training Centre soon after independence.
Part of the letter titled: “Retirement before pensionable age: Joe Kabiti EC No. 1363187Z: Senior Magistrate, Zvishavane Magistrate’s Court: JSC, reads:
“(Mr) Joe Kabiti was appointed into the public service as a presiding officer on June 15, 1981, with a certificate in community court.
“In 1997, the post of presiding officer was phased out and all incumbents were given an option to upgrade their qualifications by obtaining five O’Levels before acquiring a magistrate’s admission certificate . . . for those who upgraded their qualifications and passed the magistrate’s admission certificate examinations, they were appointed magistrates. Kabiti has not obtained any of the qualifications to date . . .”
Section 17 (4) (b) of the Judicial Service Commission Regulations, 2014 states that the commission may require a confirmed member to retire if he or she is not suitable for the post he/she occupies or any other post to which he/she could be promoted or transferred without his/her consent.
“In view of the fact that (Mr) Kabiti does not have the qualifications for the post of magistrate he cannot be regarded to this post hence the retirement in terms of Section 17 (4) (b) of the Judiciary Service Commission Regulations, 2014,” read the letter signed by Walter Chikwana on behalf of the JSC secretary.
The letter was also copied to the Chief Magistrate Mishrod Guvamombe.
Kabiti last week filed an urgent chamber application challenging his employer’s decision to force him into early retirement. The application, citing JSC and the paymaster, the Salary Service Bureau (SSB) as respondents, seeks an order interdicting the respondents from terminating his contract and salary.
“I’m making an application for suspension of an unconstitutional and unlawful intended termination of my salary in terms of the letter dated February 19, 2015 addressed to me by the Judiciary Service Commission in terms of section 17 of the Judicial Service Commission Regulations, Statutory Instrument 104 of 2014,” said Kabiti.
Kabiti through his lawyers, Mutendi and Shumba said his dismissal was not done procedurally, arguing that there was no fair hearing to the matter.