A senior Kwekwe Municipality employee who was placed on suspension early this year is demanding reinstatement without loss of benefits failure of which he will take council to court.
Brighton Mavhure, a senior buyer, was placed on suspension on May 19 on allegations of acknowledging receipt of 30 tonnes of water treatment chemicals which were however not delivered to the local authority.
Council alleged the buyer, working in cahoots with suppliers Clinoid Investments, defrauded the local authority of the chemicals, in a case which has also sucked in the embattled city treasurer, Albert Zingwe.
A criminal case has since been levelled against Mavhure who has been appearing before the Kwekwe Magistrates’ Court for routine remand since his suspension. He is due back in court for trial on December 14.
Mavhure has, however, through his lawyer, Innocent Hore of Hore and Partners, argued he was a victim of power struggles within top management and should be reinstated without loss of benefits.
He said council had failed to deal with his case over the last six months as stipulated by the law and therefore any further action against him would be outside the provisions of labour laws and the Urban Councils Act.
“We have noted with regret that the way our client’s case was handled flies in the face of the labour laws of this country, especially the Urban Councils Act Chapter 29:15.
“We now therefore call upon you to reinstate our client to his position with all benefits with immediate effect,” reads part of the letter delivered to the acting director of finance Morris Mutema.
The Urban Councils Act stipulates that all disciplinary issues related to labour should be dealt with and concluded internally within six months. Mavhure accused council of failing to even hold a single hearing into his matter in the past seven months.
Mutema refused to comment on the matter saying he had been directed by town clerk Emmanuel Musara not to speak to the media.
“I am sorry but I will have to refer you to the town clerk who is the only official council spokesman. We have been directed not to speak to the press anymore,” said Mutema.
Attempts to get comment from Musara were fruitless as he was in endless meetings throughout yesterday.
However Mayor Shadreck Tobaiwa accused Mavhure of playing “a cat-and-mouse game” with council.
“We have been looking for him for the past months and we heard he was hiding in Gokwe. Even the police have failed to locate Mavhure. He was hiding,” said Tobaiwa.
However Mubvure’s lawyer dismissed council assertions saying his client has been reporting to court every month for remand.
“Our client has been coming to court on a monthly basis for remand and our offices have been open.
Council could have served us with the notice if they were serious about concluding the case,” said Hore.
“Should they fail or neglect to comply with our client’s demands, we are under strict instructions to approach the Labour Court for reprieve,” added Hore.