The late former President Robert Mugabe is posthumously set to square off with his ex-general manager, Stanley Nhari, after the Supreme Court rolled the matter back to the High Court for the issue of the $588 000 delictual damages to be resolved.
BY CHARLES LAITON
The Supreme Court bench led by Justice Paddington Garwe partially upheld Nhari’s appeal saying the High Court was correct in declining jurisdiction of a labour matter but erred when it entirely dismissed Nhari’s claim without taking into consideration the issue of delictual damages.
Initially, Nhari had approached the High Court claiming $756 401 in terminal benefits and damages but his claim was dismissed, prompting him to approach the Supreme Court on appeal.
The Supreme Court said part of Nhari’s claim borders on labour issues and as such the High Court would not have dealt with such matters.
“Section 13 of the Labour Act makes it clear that whenever any person’s employment is terminated, such person shall be entitled to the wages and benefits due to him up to the time of such termination, including benefits with respect to outstanding vacation and notice period.
“An employer shall pay such benefits as soon as is reasonably practical and failure to do so shall constitute unfair labour practice,” the court ruled.
“The first three claims were matters that should have been handled by a labour officer in terms of section 93.
“Clearly the High Court was correct in holding that it had no jurisdiction to deal with these three claims. It was however wrong, in upholding the plea in bar in respect of the last claim.
“I am inclined to agree with the appellant (Stanley Nhari) that the order dismissing the claim was, in the circumstances, improper. The court had found that it had no jurisdiction to entertain the claims because such claims lay in the province of labour.
“Having so determined there was therefore nothing that remained before the court. There was nothing further to dismiss,” the judge said, adding; “the claim of $588 000 delictual damages is remitted to the court aquo to be handled in terms of the rules of that court.”
Sometime in 2018, Nhari, who is being represented by Advocate Thabani Mpofu, took the former First Family to court accusing it of breaching terms of his employment contract together with their business, Gushungo Holdings (Pvt) Ltd.
In his claim, Nhari said the ex-President and his wife, Grace, used illegitimate influence and force to relinquish his position in October 2015 before ordering him to continue working for no outlay until November of the same year.
This then prompted Nhari to sue the Mugabes for allegedly “breaching the terms governing the relationship between the parties, by use of illegitimate influence, force and might”.
But, when the matter was brought before Justice Benjamin Chikowero, the latter determined that the lawsuit was not in any way a case to be adjudicated by the High Court.