A LABOUR dispute between Rusape Town Council and its former secretary Albert Njobo was yesterday struck off the Supreme Court’s roll after both parties consented to the referral of the matter back to the Labour Court for determination.
SENIOR COURT REPORTER
Njobo was fired from employment three years ago over theft, abuse of office and incompetence charges.
He challenged his dismissal at the Labour Court whereupon Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo ruled in his favour by entering a default judgment after refusing to allow the council’s lawyer to be heard on the basis that he had not brought a practising certificate.
The default judgment was, however, couched in such a manner that it ordered the quashing of Rusape Town Council’s dismissal verdict entered against Njobo and ordered his reinstatement without loss of salary and benefits.
Faced with such a scenario, the council then appealed to the Labour Court again, seeking recession of Justice Moyo’s judgment which was granted by Justice Betty Chidziva.
In its application for recession, the council said it was not in wilful default when the judgment was entered, but rather its legal practitioner did not have a practicing certificate then.
“He only produced it later after receiving confirmation from the Law Society that he was licensed to practice. The lawyer Chimwanza was denied the chance to stand down the matter so that he could collect the practicing certificate,” Justice Chidziva said.
“The default judgment stated that the respondent (Njobo) was to be reinstated, but the applicant (Rusape Town Council) stated that the respondent had already been convicted of theft from applicant and sentenced to imprisonment.
“It is, therefore, this court’s view that the applicant had prospects of success in the main case and in the circumstances this court finds that the applicant was not in wilful default there are prospects of success in the main case and the application for recession is therefore granted.”
Justice Chidziva’s order was then challenged by Njobo, leading to the matter being struck off the roll by the Supreme Court.
The council was represented by advocate Lewis Uriri, while Njobo was represented by advocate Thembinkosi Magwaliba.