THE Ministry of Labour came under fire from High Court judge Justice Alpheus Chitakunye, who accused it of having a lackadaisical approach towards work and failing to exercise its duties efficiently.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
Justice Chitakunye was delivering a judgment in favour of the National Employment Council (Nec) for Engineering, Iron and Steel Industry, which approached the High Court seeking an order to have their operating certificate reinstated pending an appeal by acting registrar of labour, Langton Ngorima, in the Supreme Court.
“The contention that applicant (Nec) has not submitted audit reports for three to four years would, in my view, serve to show the respondents’ own lackadaisical approach to its work. If it took three years to realise that applicant was not complying, surely not much harm will be occasioned by allowing the Nec to operate while the appeal is prosecuted,” part of the judgment read.
The registrar of labour is in a tussle with the Nec, which it wants closed for allegedly failing to comply with the law, resulting in a protracted court dispute.
In its court papers, the Nec said it had fired the former secretary-general after he failed to audit its books and resultantly commissioned an audit which exposed massive abuse of funds, including looting by top officials in the Labour ministry.
“In any case, it was submitted that the audit report for the last three years has since been compiled and the registrar of labour can now access it. This is a case where applicant (Nec) must be surely allowed its operations until the appeal is determined,” the judgment further read.
The Nec submitted that the revocation of its licence was an attempt by the suspended registrar of labour, Grace Kanyayi, to put a lid on a boiling pot which was about to erupt.
Ngorima, through the Attorney-General, had argued that the courts were usurping the powers of the Labour ministry in regulating the Nec, but Justice Chitakunye said unlawful acts could not be allowed.