The legal battle between Local Government, Rural and Urban Development minister Ignatius Chombo and suspended Gwanda mayor Lionel De Necker continues at the Bulawayo High Court with their lawyers now expected to file heads of argument.
Report by Richard Muponde
After filing the arguments, the matter will be set down for hearing. De Necker’s lawyer Matshobane Ncube yesterday confirmed that they were in the process of filing heads of argument.
“We will be done by next week and soon after that the matter will be set down for hearing,” he said.
The mayor is challenging his suspension by Chombo arguing that it was illegal.
De Necker is being allegedly punished for refusing to swear in Priscilla Nkala, a reported Zanu PF sympathiser, as chamber secretary for the Matabeleland South capital.
Chombo tried twice to bring De Necker before a disciplinary hearing, but could not do so as the High Court barred him from taking that action.
Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Lawrence Kamocha in November last year, interdicted Chombo from convening De Necker’s hearing until the court had heard another case in which the mayor was challenging the validity of his suspension.
Three weeks ago, Gwanda Town Council refused to be armtwisted by Chombo to appoint Nkala as chamber secretary after it unanimously agreed to resist her appointment.
Gwanda council is controlled by the MDC.
Chombo is also involved in another battle with the MDC-T-dominated Bulawayo City Council over the appointment of a special interest councillor Fidelis Fengu.
Fengu was supposed to be sworn in on January 13 this year after Chombo had threatened to fire town clerk Middleton Nyoni over the issue, but the swearing in ceremony was stopped at the last minute by Justice Kamocha.
This was after a physically-challenged resident, Jack Matshazi, had made an urgent chamber application seeking an order barring Fengu’s appointment to council pending a challenge of his appointment by Chombo at the Administrative Court.