THE Supreme Court yesterday upheld the decision by Zesa Holdings’ disciplinary committee to dismiss the power utility’s human resources manager, Deporis Masitera, over negligence and incompetence.
SENIOR COURT REPORTER
Masitera was dismissed for employing an unqualified “fake degree” holder identified in court papers as “engineer Samuel Zigori”.
However, when Masitera appealed against the decision to relieve him of his duties by the disciplinary body, the Labour Court ruled in his favour and ordered his re-appointment to the post, a decision which was then challenged by Zesa at the Supreme Court.
Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba said the Labour Court judge misdirected himself when he ruled in favour of Masitera.
According to court documents, Masitera employed Zigori for a mechanical engineering job, yet he did not hold the qualifications and instead had submitted a national craft certificate for the job.
After being discharged by the disciplinary hearing, Masitera appealed to the Labour Court which ruled that his [Masitera’s] failure to notice the anomaly was a shared responsibility, adding that the interviewing panel ought to have discovered the anomaly.
But Justice Malaba said this finding by the Labour Court was in fact a gross misdirection, adding: “The Labour Court did not understand the law and it went astray. It dwelt on issues off the mark.”
Through its lawyers, Zesa had argued that the Labour Court erred in finding that the whole interviewing panel had a shared responsibility, considering that Masitera was the human resources manager in charge of the recruitment process.
The lawyers further said it was Masitera’s responsibility to notice that he had shortlisted and employed an unqualified person.
“The findings arrived at by the learned (Labour Court) President . . . constitute a serious misdirection on the facts, and misdirection so unreasonable that no sensible person applying his or her mind to the facts would have arrived at the decision,” the Zesa lawyers said.
However, Justice Malaba said the courts had previously dealt with similar cases of incompetence where people were dismissed from employment.
During the last hearing, the judge described Zigori as a job thief.