High Court Judge justice Dube has slapped NetOne in the face for basic failure to adhere to corporate governance practice after it reversed the unilateral firing of two executives, #MondayBlues has learnt
NetOne earlier this year had fired brand manager Loveness Govera and head of IT infrastructure Tauya Mugwagwa under the the pretext of termination of contract clause to employees who had served the organisation for two decades.
By Toneo Toneo
While this clause can be easily interpreted together with other clauses even by any law studying student, the buoyant NetOne Board blindly pursued this dead end, paying lawyers millions in useless legal battles while the public company bleeds and looses office furniture to non payment of rentals.
The learned justice reminded NetOne board which has been operating outside the confines of law, and violating basic corporate governance standards that the rule of law must take precedence over personal interests and differences.
In her ruling, the judge stated that
It is surprising that Respondent is trying to justify, its unlawful conduct despite clear legal authority. further, various legal experts have also commented on this issue and the court is referred to the article: A legal analysis of retrenchment and termination of employment under
the Labour Laws of Zimbabwe ushered in by the Labour Amendment Act, 2015: simplified, seamless and synchronized termination and retrenchment of employees by employers By Caleb Mucheche, Zimbabwe Electronic Law Journal Volume II, 0l April 2017.
by failing to comply with the requirements of section (12)4a of the labour act NetOne failed to comply with the due processes of the law. “
The Judge then ruled
“Accordingly . . . it is hereby declared that the respondent’s letters terminating the applicants ‘contracts of employment on notice, dated 9 July 2020 be and are hereby declared null and void.”
In this case, the judge found that the employer offered Loveness Govera and Mugwagwa a package, but without first complying with the requirements of Section 12(4a) which demands the reason of termination but these two were not favoured with such proving the point was only after illegal dismissal
“The notice of termination should contain the factual and legal basis for the termination to enable the employee to be able to challenge the termination,” she said noting that the two did not know whether the notices were issued in pursuance of retrenchment, in terms of a code or with their supposed agreement.
NetOne board However has a propensity to fire employees at whatever cost and there were not worried about paying them compensation, or apply the same tactic they are using on Muchenje who is enjoying free salaries and benefits while at home, so long as he is not at office.
Justice Dube said if the employees were not advised of the factual and legal basis for termination of their contracts on notice, any offer of assessment of compensation was invalid.
She noted that payment of compensation on its own does not become a basis for terminating a contract of employment on notice, saying all Section 12(4b) of the Act did was ensure there was compensation where an employee was given notice of termination of contract in terms of one of the four listed reasons in the earlier Section (4a).
NetOne Board has been wasting millions fighting its executives who have blocked the return of ZTE, a conduit used to milk state funds an act which has been described as massive corruption sustaining the ICT mafia nin Zimbabwe.
Hope for NetOne only comes after the newly appointed board by Jenfan Muswere takes full control without influence of executive Chairman Susan Mutangadura who is allegedly running the current chaos.
Meanwhile Lazarus Muchenje the CEO appealed the same case, a matter that has been heard and judgement reserved some 160 days now .