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Council labour row spills into High Court

Former Chitungwiza chamber secretary Ms Priscilla Vengesai’s bid to register with the High Court a more than $330 000 award has sparked an ugly legal wrangle with the council which is now seeking to block the motion.

Ms Vengesai approached the higher court to register her award after the council allegedly breached an agreement to pay her all her dues in terms of the agreement.

The parties had hammered out a settlement which culminated in the council agreeing to pay Ms Vengesai $65 000 in outstanding benefits.

The Labour Court had ordered the municipality to pay her outstanding salary arrears of $65 000, while the cost of a residential stand and school fees for two children amounting to $247 000 was to be paid by end of March, this year.

In her court filing, Ms Vengesai argues that the municipality defaulted in making payments as agreed.

She argues that the default by council meant that the agreement struck between the parties was no longer in force and parties have to revert to the Labour Court judgment.

According to the Labour Court judgment, council needs to fork out more than $330 000 to pay Ms Vengesai.

Though Ms Vengesai agrees to have been paid in part, she wants the municipality to deduct whatever it paid her, under the labour court judgment.

“Therefore the Labour Court judgment is still extant and registrable before this court,” she argues.

“Wherefore, applicant persists in her claim and prays for an order in terms of the draft.”

But the municipality insists that it fully paid Ms Vengesai what was due to her in terms of the deed of settlement signed by both parties.

It argues that the Labour Court judgment is no longer extant and cannot be registrable.

“This application ought to fail with costs at a higher scale, because the applicant is abusing the court process and not being honest,” read the municipality’s opposing papers.

Ms Vengesai, who was dismissed by council after being found guilty of breaching conditions of her contract in 2015, won her case in February this year.

She was suspended for allegedly mobilising councillors to pass a vote of no confidence in her superiors.

It was reported that a subsequent special council meeting agreed to dismiss Ms Vengesai which dismissal was endorsed by the Local Government Board.

Source :

The Herald

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