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Dabengwa case fails to take off

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ZAPU president Dumiso Dabengwa failed to turn up at the Labour Court on Tuesday where a former close aide is claiming more than $50 000 for alleged non-payment of salaries and allowances.

SILAS NKALA
STAFF REPORTER

The case is before Bulawayo Labour Court judge president Justice Evangelista Kabasa.

Court officials said they were informed that Dabengwa was outside the country and the hearing was postponed indefinitely.

The complainant in the matter is Dabengwa’s former driver and bodyguard of five years, Mthandazo Mkwananzi, who brought the former Zipra intelligence chief before the Labour Court for recourse.

Mkhwananzi was at court on Tuesday only to be told that the hearing could not proceed.

Dabengwa is reportedly denying having ever employed Mkhwananzi.

According to court documents, Mkhwananzi said he was owed $56 000 in unpaid salaries and allowances, and was only paid $4 100 between December 2008 and February 2014.

Mkhwananzi filed an appeal with the Labour Court after an arbitrator ruled on June 6 that he was a private contractor who would only report for duty as and when his services were required.

However, Mkhwananzi insisted that he was employed fulltime by Dabengwa.

“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,” Mkhwananzi submitted.

“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.”

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

He said although the salary issue was not clear, there were promises that donors would provide funds that would enable Dabengwa to pay him.

Mkhwananzi said he only received allowances at some stage for six consecutive months at $200 each.

Mkwananzi said between January 2009 and December 2013, he was supposed 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.

In his submissions 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.”

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