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Council, workers fight over residential stands

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REDCLIFF Municipality workers are up in arms against their employer whom they accuse of illegally withdrawing an offer for free stands in lieu of their outstanding salaries.

BLESSED MHLANGA
Staff Reporter

The 300 workers have since approached the courts seeking to force the Freddy Kapuya-led council to honour its pledge to give each employee a residential stand in Redcliff’s Grasslands.

Workers led by Epiphas Matsaure and Methias Mandaza made a court application seeking to have the decision to withdraw the stands declared illegal under case number 273/2015 at the Kwekwe Magistrates’ Court.

Matsaure told the court that on January 22 2009 council offered 300 workers residential stands through a formal letter signed by the director of housing and community services and workers responded by signing a standardised memorandum of understanding (MoU) on April 8 of the same year.

He accused council of illegally withdrawing the offer without engaging the employees, who had already made plans to develop the stands.

“On January 22 2009, the respondent (Redcliff Municipality) offered me and other individuals employed by the respondent, residential stands,” Matsaure said in his founding affidavit.

He said the council erred by not following due process of the law when they withdrew the offers, which was tantamount to “putting the law into its own hands”.

The employees allege that council only withdrew the offer on low ranking officials, but did not do so for top management, who were offered commercial stands.

“I was shocked to learn that senior managers were offered residential and commercial stands and these were not withdrawn, which makes the decision of the local authority discriminatory against the lowly paid staff members,” Matsaure wrote.

He said the director of housing and social services, one Chagwiza, former internal auditor Edwin Furusa, senior environmental health officer, one Mugadza, the town planner Chigwagwa, town clerk Elizabeth Gwatipedza, former town clerk Trust Sengwayo and former human resources manager and now town clerk of Rusape, were offered stands and these were not withdrawn.

Redcliff, in its reversal of offer of the residential stands to council employees dated August 8 2013, did not explain reasons for the withdrawal.

“This letter serves to notify you that a special council resolution of April 7 2010 to rescind earlier resolution of Tuesday November 11 2008 item 4: Allocation of residential stands to workers.

“All employees who had been given offer letters for free residential stands are hereby advised to ignore the offer letters as they are now null and void.

“In addition, for those who had signed and collected agreement of award, you are to hand them over to the director of housing and community services.

“Failure to hand over the forms will not legitimise the withdrawn donation of stands number 6077 Rutendo Extention into grasslands, Redcliff, so you are advised to comply,” the council wrote.

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