Dabengwa dragged to court

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There is no doubt that our work would have been easier and more co-ordinated if we had centres in Harare and Bulawayo for our northern and southern region activities respectively.

OPPOSITION Zapu president Dumiso Dabengwa is embroiled in a messy dispute with a former close aide over alleged non-payment of salaries and allowances amounting to more than $50 000.

NQOBILE BHEBHE
CHIEF REPORTER

Mthandazo Mkwananzi, who was Dabengwa’s personal driver and bodyguard for about five years, has dragged the former Zipra intelligence chief to the Labour Court.

However, Dabengwa has denied ever employing Mkwananzi.

According to documents seen by Southern Eye, Mkwananzi said he was owed $56 000 and was only paid $4 100 between December 2008 and February 2014.

Mkwananzi’s Labour Court case is an appeal to an arbitrator’s ruling issued on June 6 that he was a private contractor who would only report for duty as and when his services were required.

But Mkhwananzi maintained that he was employed by Dabengwa on a full-time basis.

“Appellant (Mkhwananzi was working for the respondent (Dabengwa) as a personal driver and security personnel from November 2008 to February 2014 when the working relationship was terminated by the respondent on (the) basis that appellant’s services were no longer required,” reads Mkhwananzi’s appeal.

“The learned arbitrator did not observe the selection process that led to the employment of the appellant by respondent.

“Though it was not done in writing, respondent did not dispute that he shortlisted appellant for the interview that led to his appointment to render services that respondent required.”

Mkwananzi said he “attended this interview” together with another candidate and Dabengwa preferred him to take up the job, establishing an employment relationship.

“Though the issue of salaries was not mentioned clearly, there were promises to the effect that a prospective donor would provide funds that would enable respondent to pay me a salary,” he said in the court papers.

“However, I only received allowances at some stage for six consecutive months at $200 each.

“The payment was made by the chief executive officer of MZWT (Matabeleland Zambezi Water Trust).

“She had even confirmed that I would get my salaries from her office when they were due.”

Mkwananzi said between January 2009 and December 2013, he was meant to get $45 000 ($9 000 per year), $1 000 for January to February 10 this year, $2 250 for three months’ pay and $7 000 for other expenses.

However, responding to the application, Dabengwa said: “We abide by our earlier submissions to the Labour Court and later the compulsory arbitrator viz, that no employment relationship existed between the appellant and Dabengwa.

“Nothing in his grounds of appeal even approaches a challenge of the arbitrator’s reasoned determination on the grounds of law.

“We therefore feel no need to make any further submissions on the matter at this point and our appearance to defend will place ourselves at the court’s mercy.

“May we also seek the court’s guidance on 21-day appeal cut-off date.”