SUSPENDED Gwanda mayor Lionel De Necker has filed an urgent High Court chamber application seeking to order Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo to stop a disciplinary hearing against him, describing the move as unlawful.
Report by Richard Muponde
De Necker made the application on Monday after Chombo appointed a committee two weeks ago to drag the mayor before a disciplinary hearing.
Chombo in April suspended De Necker for allegedly refusing to appoint a suspected Zanu PF sympathiser Priscilla Nkala as the town’s chamber secretary. The minister accused the mayor of insubordination by defying his orders.
However, De Necker has since challenged the legality of his suspension at the Bulawayo High Court under case number 1814/12 and the matter is yet to be heard.
In the latest court application, De Necker said it would be improper for the hearing to go ahead when the court was still to decide on the legality of his suspension by Chombo.
He cited Chombo and chairman of the disciplinary committee, only identified as K Renzwa, as respondents in the matter.
“The prejudice in allowing 2nd respondent’s (Renzwa) committee in going ahead with the hearing is self evident in that the committee indeed concludes that I am guilty yet the court may absolve me of any wrongdoing by setting aside 1st respondent’s (Chombo’s) suspension on grounds of legality,” De Necker said.
“My fear is real. 1st respondent is bent on getting rid of me from being the mayor of Gwanda and 2nd respondent’s committee in so far as I am concerned is there to do a fait accompli on behalf of the 1st respondent. I have no other remedy other than approach this court for relief.”
Bulawayo lawyers PhuluNcube Legal Practitioners are representing De Necker.
The mayor’s suspension has also put Chombo and his deputy, Sesel Zvidzai (MDC-T), on a collision course after the latter said the suspension was null and void.
However, De Necker, who belongs to the Welshman Ncube-led MDC, took heed of the suspension and chose to challenge Chombo from outside council offices.