Fired town secretary demands $215 000 in terminal benefits

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FORMER Gokwe town secretary Tapiwa Marongwe – relieved of his duties 22 months ago over allegations of tender manipulation, fraud and incompetence — is demanding about $215 000 in outstanding salary and terminal benefits from the local authority.

STAFF REPORTER

In submissions made before an arbitration tribunal in Gweru on January 22, Marongwe, through his lawyer Innocent Hore, argued that he was illegally dismissed from work following his suspension on February 13, 2012 after having worked for the town council for three years.

He told the tribunal, presided over by an official only identified as Ganyani, that he had not received any official communication from his former employers regarding his employment status following a Local Government Board meeting held on May 10, 2013.

“By implication, the employee is still on unlawful suspension that has lasted 22 months,” Hore said in his submissions.

Marongwe wants council to reinstate him to his position as town secretary without loss of benefits which he listed as
$115 022 being salary, benefits and allowances all due from date of suspension.

He also wants $4 909 cash in lieu of 120 days leave on top of $84 983,28 being payment for damages for his unlawful dismissal from work.

Council, represented by lawyer Josinia Maupa, however, challenged the jurisdiction of the tribunal in dealing with the matter and refused to respond to the demands raised by Marongwe.

“This arbitration is referral, implying that it is not an arbitration of first instance. The enabling office is that of the labour officer and once a finding is reached that the labour officer had no jurisdiction, then this arbitration would consequently be disabled to proceed.

“These submissions will therefore not go beyond the aspect of jurisdiction, lest we may be submitting on the merits before the wrong forum,” council said in its submissions.

Ganyani last week, however, ruled that he had jurisdiction over the matter and gave the local authority until next Thursday to respond to the claims made by Marongwe.

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