Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi has filed a court application challenging a decision by an arbitrator to award his ex-worker more than $37 000 as terminal benefits and pay for unfair dismissal.According to the court papers filed at Bulawayo High Court on Friday, Minister Mohadi through his lawyers, Mutuso, Taruvinga and Mhiribidi Legal Practitioners, is seeking an order to set aside the arbitral award granted in favour of his ex-worker, Mereki Zunde.
The award is for quantification and damages in lieu of reinstatement of $37 314.
Zunde, who was cited as the respondent in the matter, was employed at Vitafoam (Pvt) Ltd, a company belonging to the minister, between 1997 and June 30 2004 when his contract was terminated.
Abigail Mohadi, managing director for Vitafoam (Pvt) Ltd, in her founding affidavit, said the arbitrator only identified as Gijima, misdirected herself in ruling that Zunde must be paid damages as substitute for reinstatement.
She said Gijima’s decision lacked justification, arguing that Zunde was an employee of the company when it was still under the management of Verika Holdings. Minister Mohadi bought the shares of the company on October 31 2009.
Abigail further argued that Zunde was supposed to proceed with the quantification of his benefits and pay soon after the arbitral award.
She said the arbitrator should have quantified the pay and benefits from the time of dismissal to the granting of the awards in June 2004.
Zunde was employed by Vitafoam as an auto-electrician before his dismissal. He filed a complaint and won it at arbitration. Vitafoam unsuccessfully appealed against the award at the Labour Court.
Zunde then filed an application at the High Court in Bulawayo seeking to register the arbitral award in terms of section 98 (14) of the Labour Act.
On March 17 this year, Justice Andrew Mutema granted the order in favour of Zunde, resulting in a writ of attachment on Vitafoam’s property in the event that the company failed to pay Zunde $37 314.