Mawindi case begins

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THE labour dispute in which former Telecel Zimbabwe chief executive officer Francis Mawindi is seeking conciliation is set to be heard today at the labour ministry, NewsDay has learnt.

ACTING BUSINESS EDITOR

Mawindi is challenging his dismissal and is demanding over $1 million in damages or reinstatement after it emerged that he was sacked by the country’s second largest mobile phone operator.

It is believed that Mawindi was earning in excess of $20 000 in salaries, allowances and other benefits per month.

As first reported by this paper, contrary to initial reports that Mawindi had voluntarily thrown in the towel, court papers and information gathered from impeccable sources show that Mawindi, whom for less than a year had been Telecel boss, is unhappy
over his dismissal.

After his dismissal, Mawindi, according to the court papers, on April 30 wrote a letter of demand to Telecel Zimbabwe for redress, but nothing materialised.

“On March 26, 2013, he got the shock of his life when he was served with a letter summarily and unlawfully terminating his contract of employment after attending a board meeting which, in his own view, later turned out to be a kangaroo court in Cairo, Egypt,” his lawyers Matsikidze and Mucheche legal practitioners said in a letter written to the provincial labour officer for Harare.

“The aforementioned ‘bush court’ was chaired by the company’s board chairman James Makamba. The summary dismissal was effected by the employer acting through two exotic directors whose names have been furnished to us.”

Mawindi, according to the lawyers, was on a three-year contract which he had a legitimate expectation that it would be renewed after its expiry in 2015.

“Alternatively, if the employer is unable to reinstate him, he wants to be paid damages in lieu of reinstatement made up of the full salaries and benefits for the unexpired period of his contract of employment, plus full salaries and benefits for an additional three years after its expiry in 2015 plus payment of legal costs that he shall incur in this matter,” the lawyers said.

Telecel Zimbabwe is a unit of Egypt-headquartered Orascom Telecom.
Mawindi took over from expatriate John Swaim in July, who was then the acting chief executive officer.

A United States-born Swiss national, Swaim was at one stage deported from Zimbabwe and later returned after strong lobbying from different local groups with vested interest in the mobile communications company.