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Sixth judge dumps ex-PG director’s case

BY RICHARD MUPONDE

Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Thompson Mabhikwa has recused himself from hearing the 19-year-old legal wrangle between former PG Industries (Zimbabwe) Limited marketing director Nkululeko Mabhena and his ex-employers over terminal benefits of over $73 million.

Mabhikwa, who was the sixth judge to deal with the case, recused himself from hearing it after he discovered that he knew one of the parties to the matter.

“I recuse myself from dealing with this matter because I know one of the parties personally. The matter has to be set down before another judge. The matter is
hereby removed from the roll,” he said.

The matter had been set down for hearing after it had been off the roll for the past four years when Mabhena skipped the border in 2015 claiming his life was
in danger.

Mabhena only returned in December last year and was scheduled to meet Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs secretary Virginia Mabhiza, to whom he had sent
his complaint about the conduct of two judges that previously handled the case. The letter was copied to Chief Justice Luke Malaba.

However, Mabhena was advised to take the legal route and approached the High Court again demanding that his case be set down for hearing.

The protracted legal battle has seen a number of applications and counter-applications filed at the Bulawayo High Court over terminal benefits and salary
arrears amounting to $73 million.

The saga started when Mabhena fell ill and was believed to have died — with doctors at United Bulawayo Hospitals certifying him dead.

PG went on to pay off his funeral expenses. At some point he was put in a morgue.

Mabhena was eventually discharged from hospital and went back to work, where he was asked to produce a certificate of existence as he was now believed to be
dead.

After meeting the employer’s demand, PG Industries, however, refused to take him back, but dismissed him with a payoff of 64 cents.

Mabhena filed an appeal at the High Court demanding that the company pay him terminal benefits and salary arrears.

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