Battle over Iron and Steel NEC spills to Supreme Court

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

THE Public Service Labour and Social Welfare ministry, through the Registrar of Labour, has approached the Supreme Court seeking to have the registration certificate of the National Employment Council (Nec) for Engineering and Iron and Steel Industry cancelled, as power struggles rage amid allegations of corruption.

In its appeal, the Registrar of Labour, now represented by acting labour director, Langton Ngorima, following the suspension of Grace Kanyayi, said the High Court erred by reinstating the certificate of the Nec.

Ngorima said the Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare ministry had acted within the law in closing down the Nec and, therefore, the High Court was out of order in reinstating the certificate.

“The court grossly erred and misdirected itself and erred at law in failing to find out that the appellant acted in terms of the law in particular section 59 of the Labour Act when (Kanyayi) cancelled the certificate of the Nec.

“The court a quo grossly and misdirected itself in failing to find that there is prejudice that the appellant will suffer in the interim, where there are serious allegations of misappropriation of funds by the Nec and were the Nec is in total disregard of the law as it
relates to its operations,” reads the appeal submitted by the Attorney-General’s Office on behalf of government.

The Nec, however, hit back, filing an urgent High Court chamber application, seeking to block the appeal by Ngorima, saying there was no need to approach the Supreme Court.

“The ministry has the option of filling a notice of opposition against confirmation of the provisional order granted under case number HC 6260/19,” wrote Caleb Mucheche in an urgent chamber application on behalf of the Nec.

The Nec said his actions were unheard of at law and were only driven by the intention to close it down.

“The appeal filed by the respondent is malafide and fatally defective; there is nothing like that at law,” Mucheche wrote.

The Nec has alleged in court that senior Public Service ministry officials had looted its coffers through its former secretary-general and after he was fired an audit of the organisations’ funds was commissioned, exposing the rot.

Mucheche told the court that in an attempt to put a lid on the can of worms there was a spirited attempt to shut down the Nec and allow government officials to go scot-free.

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