BULAWAYO High Court judge Justice Lawrence Kamocha yesterday turned down an attempt by three former TM Supermarket managers to represent themselves in a case where they are fighting their ex-employer over unpaid bonuses.
Itayi Nkomo, Thembinkosi Nyathi and Khumbula Tshili are challenging an interim relief judgement that was issued in favour of TM Supermarkets by the High Court to stop paying them.
The trio are fighting their former employer over unpaid bonuses of $2 390 each awarded to them on October 23, 2013 by an arbitrator.
Following the arbitration award, Labour Court Judge president Justice Sello Nare suspended the ruling saying the former TM section managers were not entitled to an award as determined by an independent arbitrator.
But the managers sought a nullification of his judgment, accusing Justice Nare of corruptly giving their employer favourable judgments in the labour dispute in return for a tender to supply farm produce to TM.
Another High Court judge Justice Maphios Cheda reversed an order by Justice Nare suspending a ruling by the arbitrator compelling TM Supermarkets to pay the three managers their salaries and bonuses. He also ordered them to submit their heads of arguments and affidavits in their application challenging an interim relief granted by the court stopping the company from paying them.
However, Justice Kamocha yesterday ordered them to stand individually or seek the services of a lawyer if they wanted representation after Nkomo had introduced himself as their representative.
Only Nkomo’s heads of argument and affidavits were available in court. Justice Kamocha said there was no legal standing that someone who is not registered as a lawyer can go to court and claim to represent someone else.
“In the Legal Practitioners Act, you cannot stand for other. Each one of you must stand for himself or you seek the service of a lawyer,” said Justice Kamocha.
“So these others did not file their papers? What happens in court is that when you do something or you want to make a claim, you cannot come here and claim to represent others. Even myself; when my father is not a lawyer, he cannot come here and say I am representing my son.
“So each one of you must file papers. No one among you represents the other.”
He then went on to advise the trio: “When you come to court from your work place, even the chairman of the workers committee cannot represent you here. In this place you are individuals even if you work together.
“You should lodge your individual claims. A person who is not a legal practitioner cannot stand here and say I am defending my company, but must have a lawyer to do that.,Your application as it is, is not proper before the court, so go get lawyers.”