Court dismisses Byo bosses salary appeal

BULAWAYO - A High Court judge, Justice Maxwell Takuva, has dismissed an application by 12 Bulawayo City Council (BCC) bosses challenging the slashing of their salaries and allowances by government.

The salaries and perks cut — by 40 percent of total package — was on the back of a ministerial directive which sought to rationalise remuneration for top council managers.

The council bosses, under a grouping called The Executive Group of the Staff (TEGS), had filed an urgent chamber application with the High Court — through their lawyers Calderwood, Bryce Hendrie and Partners — citing Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere and BCC as respondents.

TEGS chairperson, Mackenzie Widzani Moyo, sought an order interdicting their employer from implementing its July 14, 2016 resolution to slash allowances payable to them pending the determination and finalisation of a case before the Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare ministry.

In his founding affidavit, Moyo argued that there was no legal basis upon which the ministerial directive was premised.

“It is our contention that while the minister’s powers in terms of the Urban Councils Act may be wide in terms of him regulating the activities of local authorities, they however, do not allow him to take away rights the local authorities would have lawfully bestowed upon third parties,” he said.

He further argued that actions by their employer and the minister were a violation of their rights in terms of the Labour Act.

“We believe these are rights that may not be taken away from us on the basis of powers of the minister given to him by the Urban Councils Act. Clearly, if on the basis of any other law someone were to say that they are entitled to take away fundamental rights of employees protected by the Labour Act, there would be a conflict between the Labour Act and any other such law that the person would be seeking to rely upon,” Moyo said.

In his ruling yesterday, Takuva said the ministerial directive was in national interest as service delivery was a priority ahead of individual interests.

“I take the view that the balance of convenience does not favour the granting of an interim order. It appears that the ministerial directive was made in the national interest after the realisation that local authorities were paying unsustainable salaries and allowances at the expense of basic service delivery,” Takuva said.

He added: “What is at stake therefore is effective service delivery to the Bulawayo residents in their totality as opposed to the allowances of the executive group which can be compensated through non-monetary benefits. In my view, national interest should prevail over individual interest.”

“In the circumstances, the application is unmerited and it is hereby dismissed and each party to bear its own costs,” Takuva ruled.

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.