Zimpapers property attached

THE Deputy Sheriff has attached property worth $35 571 from Zimbabwe Newspapers (Zimpapers) in Bulawayo on behalf of a former driver, who resigned last year citing constructive dismissal after he was involved in an accident while driving a company vehicle and lost $686.

SILAS NKALA

An official at the Deputy Sheriff’s office on Tuesday said property worth $35 571 had been attached from Zimpapers Bulawayo branch following a July 30 High Court grant of writ of execution to attach the property.

“We have since attached the property which includes some delivery vehicles, refrigerators and computers from Zimpapers,” the official said.

“What is only left is the removal of those goods from that company.”
Court papers in Southern Eye’s possession show that Jonathan Madimba was employed by Zimpapers as a driver since 2005 and left his employment in 2012 following the alleged constructive dismissal by management after he got involved in an accident that nearly claimed his life.

The vehicle, a Ford Ranger, became a write-off when it collided with a Toyota Prado, which tried to overtake a bus in front of him at the 45km peg along Gweru-Bulawayo Highway some time in 2011. Following the accident, management accused the driver of negligent driving and losing company money.

A hearing conducted at the company premises recommended that he be given a written warning and ordered to restitute the company the sum of $686 he lost. Zimpapers chief executive officer Justin Mutasa then wrote a letter, dated February 17, to Madimba, which reads: “I uphold the determination of a final written warning and the restitution of $686 company money lost in your possession.

“You are, therefore, transferred laterally to another department, where you shall not handle any money within the branch and you shall not drive company vehicles.”

Aggrieved by the management’s decision, the former driver resigned on February 27 last year and took the case to the Labour ministry for conciliation, where it was further referred to an independent arbitrator P Chenyika.

The former employee cited constructive dismissal and unfair treatment by the employer, whom he accused of not even considering that he was not to blame for the accident, but the other driver was.

He also expressed concern that Zimpapers ignored that he had been in a critical condition after the accident and had to be transferred from Gweru to a Bulawayo hospital.

“In a nutshell, the material circumstances leading to the alleged offence, my prohibitive working conditions and trauma I went through owing to the accident were deliberately given a blind eye,” Madimba wrote, querying his treatment by his employers.

“How else was I expected to continue employment when my basic employment had been unfairly and harshly altered on one hand and it had been made abundantly and crystal clear that I was not being wanted in the organisation?

“This is an injury and mockery to justice and fairness. It’s a clear display of ruthlessness. I was constructively dismissed.”
The arbitrator in May awarded that he be paid a total of
$35 571 damages for constructive dismissal and other allowances.

Court papers show that the award was registered at the High Court on July 11 this year, where High Court judge Justice Lawrence Kamocha upheld the award and ordered the company to pay the employee as awarded.

He authorised the Deputy Sheriff to execute the warrant of execution of the award.

After the company was furnished with the award and did not react to it, the High Court granted a writ of execution to the employee on July 30.

“You are required and directed to attach and take into execution the movable goods belonging to Zimpapers (1980) Limited of the same cause to realise the sum of $35 571 to the said applicant with interest at a prescribed rate of 5% per annum,” the High Court order to the Deputy Sheriff reads.

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