In a ruling delivered by Justice Rita Makarau sitting with Ben Hlatshwayo and Bharat Patel, the apex court of appeal ruled council’s decision to retire its treasurer, Misheck Mubvumbi, before he reached the age of 65 was wrong and should be set aside.
“The decision of the respondent (Harare City Council) to summarily retire the applicant at 60 is hereby set aside,” read part of the ruling.
Mubvumbi was council’s city treasurer until 2014 when council reduced the retirement age from 65 to 60 and he was among over 1 000 workers sent home.
Through his lawyer Advocate Regina Mabwe, instructed by J Mambara and Partners, Mubvumbi challenged the decision on the basis that it was illegal as his contract, which he had signed with council in 1981 stated that he ought to be retired at 65, and not at 60.
The court stated that the statutory instrument used by council to reduce the retirement age from 65 to 60 did not apply to senior managers from grade one to grade four, hence the retirement was illegal.
“It is not in dispute that SI 135/12 is inapplicable to the applicant by reason of his position.
The statutory instrument applies to all employees in grades 16 to 5. It is therefore expressly excludes persons employed on grades 1 to 4. The appellant is (was) employed in a grade 2 position,” read part of the judgment. The city stated that it would save US$2 million monthly from the retrenchment of workers it undertook then but now the process has come back to haunt council.
Other senior staffers who were affected by the retrenchment and could claim payment include former business development manager Cosmas Zvikaramba, housing and community services manager Justine Chivavaya, Urban planning services manager Psychology Chiwanga, Stanley Mungofa (health) and director amenities Dombo Chibanda.