A labour row between the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) and its estranged chief executive officer Nancy Masiyiwa-Chamisa exploded this week after the parastatal reportedly tried to way-lay her into a belated disciplinary hearing.
Masiyiwa-Chamisa was suspended on June 21 on charges of “wilful abuse of authority and victimisation of officers of the authority based on factors not driven from recorded detail or their conduct and performance” among others.
While labour law requires disciplinary procedures to be completed within 14 working days, Zinara only wrote to its suspended chief executive officer on July 20 exactly a month later, indicating the hearing would be on July 26.
“You are hereby advised that the disciplinary hearing following your suspension shall be conducted on July 26, 2018, at 10am at Holiday Inn, Harare.
“A committee has been set up to hear your matter chaired by retired Justice Moses Chinhengo. The other members of the committee are Andrew Mugandiwa, a legal practitioner, Thandiwe Regai Hove, a legal practitioner and Nester Vaki, a human resources practitioner,” the letter signed by board chairperson Wilfred Ramwi, said.
In response, Masiyiwa-Chamisa’s lawyer George Makings accused the parastatal of failing to follow due procedure in summoning his client to the hearing.
Makings said Masiyiwa-Chamisa was not at home when a messenger tried to serve the letter on her and left with an unsigned copy.
“Upon her return, Masiyiwa-Chamisa made contact with you, indicating that she was back and was informed by you that the letter had been left in her letterbox.
“Leaving the letter in the letterbox was clearly not the service that you had envisaged as it meant that the copy letter was not signed for,” the lawyer said.
Masiyiwa-Chamisa’s legal representative added that his client had “left her with far too little time to be able to prepare for the hearing” and, therefore, was demanding it be postponed.
Makings argued in his letter that his client had not also been given time to look at the charges against her after the investigation and a prima facie case established.
“To continue this matter without due process having been followed would clearly be against the interest of natural justice. Time should be given to address this procedural shortcoming so detailed charges can be furnished and time be given to her to prepare her responses to these charges,” Makings said.
Masiyiwa-Chamisa is also challenging the composition of the disciplinary committee that her lawyer argued was composed of representatives from the employer alone in violation of Zinara’s code.
Zinara, according to the lawyer, also failed to comply with labour laws regarding the timeframe within which to conclude disciplinary matters. Masiyiwa-Chamisa was initially suspended without pay before Zinara changed and re-instated her salary and benefits a week later reportedly after a stormy meeting between Transport minister Joram Gumbo, President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga.
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