THE Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare minister has been sucked in the $73 million case between PG Industries and the company’s marketing director who once was mistakenly certified dead.
Nkululeko Mabhena is suing PG for about $73 million in salary arrears and benefits dating back to nine years ago.
He is also challenging his retrenchment.
A doctor certified Mabhena dead in 2004, but he later regained consciousness after he had been placed in a mortuary.
In his High Court chamber application served on Labour minister Nicholas Goche and PG Industries on Thursday last week, Mabhena is seeking the reversal of the ministry’s approval of his retrenchment without following the company’s remuneration policy.
Chairman of the Retrenchment Board, the Retrenchment Board, Minister of Labour and Social Welfare Nicholas Goche, PG Industries (Zimbabwe) Limited and Zimboard Products (Pvt) (Ltd) are cited as first, second, third, fourth and fifth respondents.
The ministry, which was under Paurina Mpariwa of the MDC-T during the coalition government era, issued the green light for Mabhena’s retrenchment through the Secretary for Labour and Social Services, albeit without following PG Industries’ remuneration policy on Mabhena’s grade.
After the ministry’s approval, the company deposited $10 000 into Mabhena’s account as retrenchment package and offered him an old Madza B1800 at book value.
However, Mabhena argued that the retrenchment was null and void.
“An arbitrary $100 was fixed as my salary as Director of the 5th respondent with other benefits contrary to the established conditions of service that included pension, accommodation, holiday allowances, a Mercedes Benz, housing share options and so on. The irrational decision of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd respondents to retrench me at the behest of the 4th respondent is travesty of justice, null and void, grossly unreasonable and cannot stand,” part of Mabhena’s founding affidavit reads.
Mabhena also questioned the company’s intention to retrench him before he was formally reinstated to his position of marketing director, as was ordered by High Court judge Justice Lawrence Kamocha on February 17 last year.
The judge ruled that he be reinstated to his position as marketing director with effect from February 28, 2009. Mabhena wanted his dues to be calculated from the time the court reinstated him in 2009 to date and also for the company to disclose benefits and packages of directors, including housing benefits and vehicles, among others.