Court reinstates Banda as deputy mayor

BULAWAYO - The High Court here has reinstated Gift Banda to his position of Bulawayo deputy mayor as well as ward 5 councillor.

The ruling by Justice Martin Makonese followed an appeal by Banda challenging his dismissal from the local authority.

Banda was early this year expelled by the Local Government, Public Works and National Housing minister Saviour Kasukuwere following recommendations by an independent tribunal.

Kasukuwere last year appointed an independent tribunal to investigate the affairs of the city, following an outcry by residents over corruption and maladministration.

Banda was eventually fired in February this year together with ward 21 councillor Reuben Matengu after they were initially suspended in September last year.

In his ruling yesterday, Justice Makonese said after scrutinising the submissions by the applicant’s lawyers, he was satisfied that the decision by the independent tribunal and the Local Government ministry to expel him were misdirected.

“It is therefore clear that the decision of the tribunal was not grounded on any facts on the record and was not based on any sound legal basis. Such a decision is grossly irregular and unreasonable,” he said.

“Accordingly, I am satisfied that the applicant is entitled to the relief sought in the draft, it is orders as follows. The decision of the first responded finding applicant guilty on any gross misconduct be and herby set aside and substituted with an order finding applicant not guilty of any act of misconduct.

“The applicant is hereby reinstated as councillor for ward 5, Bulawayo deputy mayor of Bulawayo with no loss of allowances and benefits,” ruled Justice Makonese.

In the application Banda who was being represented by Kholwani Ngwenya of TJ Mabhikwa and Partners had cited Kasukuwere, Bulawayo City Council, the independent tribunal and its members advocate Hilda Makusha Moyo, Midard Khumalo and Lucy Manhokwe as the respondents.

In his founding affidavit, Banda said the tribunal erred when it found him guilty of gross misconduct, arguing that its decision was premised on irregular and unreasonable findings.

“The basis of this application is that the decision of the first respondent (independent) finding me guilty of an act of gross misconduct in the acquisition of lease by Entertainment Headquarters is grossly irregular and unreasonable.

“It is premised on the independent tribunal’s grossly irregular and unreasonable finding that

by co-signing the application for a lease by Entertainment Headquarters I wanted to influence the decision on the application yet council did not approve or grant the application, which I had co-signed,” he said.

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