The four employees — Harriet Samukange (personal assistant to chief executive officer), Tafirenyika Chitsungo (Accounts officer), Christopher Emmanuel (Admin officer) and Munyaradzi Siwatsi (finance and administration manager) — said they volunteered to retire from the association.
They were promised their retirement packages before September 30, in a letter that was written and signed by Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Mashingaidze.
After the stated period had elapsed, the quartet engaged the services of a lawyer, Phillip Mbano of Chikuni and Ntuli Partners, who advised them to seek redress at the Labour Courts.
According to the results of a court hearing on January 11 2012, the two parties agreed to call off the dispute and the respondent agreed to pay outstanding salaries as from October 2011 to January 2012 pending finalisation of their retrenchment packages.
“Zifa have made an undertaking that they are going to pay up the outstanding salaries and unveil their packages before January 31,” stated the outcome of the hearing.
According to Mbano, the law states that the four are still Zifa employees as long as their packages are still to be processed.
“This means that even if we get into another month without them receiving their packages, Zifa would be entitled to paying these guys that month’s salary as they are still deemed their employees.”
The four then wrote on different dates to Zifa expressing their willingness for voluntary retirement after the Zifa board held a retreat meeting in Kariba that agreed on a restructuring exercise at the association’s headquarters.
On September 22, the four were handed letters written and signed by Mashingaidze ordering them to surrender all the association assets that they had, and to vacate the premises before 4:30pm of that particular day.
The four obliged hoping to get their packages on the date that was stated, but all was in vain.
Their lawyer had the first meeting with a special committee that was appointed specifically for the negotiations on their packages on October 12 2011 whereby Zifa agreed that it was going to pay up. It failed to honour the obligation culminating in the case spilling into the courts.
“I am not going to mention figures now but we are going to stick to global rates,” Mbano said.