Arda’s bid to fire workers flops

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Troubled parastatal Agricultural Rural Development Authority (Arda)’s bid to get close to 50 employees fired for staging an “unlawful” demonstration hit a snag after the Labour Court dismissed its application as defective.

By Alois Vinga

The employees staged the demonstration in a bid to pressure Arda to pay the outstanding salaries for over a year.

The employees were also demanding safety clothing.

Aggrieved by the demonstration held on June 18, Arda approached the Labour Court to have the industrial action declared illegal.
However, the employees, through their lawyer Takudzwa Mafongoya, pointed out that the notice of application filed by Arda as J Jebizani and 39 others was defective since it did not name the respondents.

The court removed the case from the roll.

“After considering submissions by both parties and upon proper examination of the law and more particularly the case authorities referred to by respondent, the court handed down an order striking the application off the roll,’’ part of the ruling reads.

“In reaching this conclusion, the court found that the issue of citation of parties as to who is before the court is a question of law.

“The citation of the respondent was clearly defective as there is no legal persona referred to as ‘and 39 others’. “The irregularity was not such as could be amended by way of notice to amend pleadings as submitted by Arda. It was the court’s view that a nullity cannot be amended.

“On the basis that it was the court’s view that there being no respondents before the court at the time the application was instituted, the matter ought to be struck off the roll with costs.”

Arda, chaired by Basil Nyabadza, is a parastatal tasked to improve agriculture and rural development in Zimbabwe. At its peak, it operated over 36 estates which have all been run down by mismanagement.

The authority is currently negotiating with the retrenchment board on the modalities of laying off part of its staff, especially at its headquarters.