By Ricky Zililo
The failure to honour his promise to pay former Highlanders’ striker Roderick Mutuma additional signing-on fees and $200 as top up for the player’s salary in 2017 could come back to haunt aspiring Highlanders’ vice-chairman Longwe Ndlovu.
The businessman with interests in Esigodini and Bulawayo is challenging incumbent Modern Ngwenya at the club’s elections on Sunday.
When Mutuma signed for Bosso, the club offered a sign-on fee of $1 000, with Ndlovu pledging to pay an extra $3 000 to bring the amount to $4 000. In addition to his $500 salary at Bosso, Ndlovu promised to up it by $200 to $700.
Mutuma prematurely cut his stay at Highlanders, citing personal reasons, saying he needed to be close to his family as he wasn’t getting enough remuneration from
Bosso as a result of Ndlovu not honouring his promise.
The player sought legal recourse and his lawyers from Calderwood, Bryce, Hendrie and Partners wrote to Ndlovu reminding him to honour his financial obligations to Mutuma.
Part of the letter which was delivered at the Highlanders’ offices as Mutuma claimed he couldn’t locate Ndlovu read:
“We are instructed that sometime in February 2017, you entered into a sponsorship contract with our client in terms of which you bound yourself to pay our client the following amounts:
“$3 000 signing on fees, $200 as salary per month. Our instructions are that you paid $1 200 towards our client as signing on fees leaving a balance of $1 800.”
The letter also stated that Ndlovu had not paid Mutuma a single cent in the promised $200 monthly add ons from March to May 2017 as per agreement.
“We are instructed to demand, as we hereby do, the payment of the sum of $1 800 and further the sum of $600 in salary arrears for the months of March, April and May. If payment is not made 7 days after receipt of this letter or an acceptable payment plan is not reached, our client’s instructions are that we proceed to institute legal action against you at no further notice,” read the letter.
Longwe yesterday said he is still paying Mutuma’s outstanding dues.
“Highlanders wanted to sign Mutuma, but didn’t have money. I had a contract with that boy and I paid what is due to him. I’m still paying him through my lawyers because I had a contract with him. The reason why I stopped paying him then when he was at the club was because of his indiscipline. I found him drinking beer and it hurt me. I had told him to concentrate on scoring goals for the club,” said Ndlovu.
Mutuma’s handler Tawengwa Zidya said Ndlovu only paid $400 out of the $2 400.
“Mutuma left Bosso midway in 2017 and Ndlovu owed him $2 400. An agreement was made that he pays $100 per month, but he only paid for four months. He breached our agreement and we’ve been looking for him trying to serve him with court papers to no avail as we could not locate him at the addresses we had,” said Zidya.
Meanwhile, on his campaign, Ndlovu, who donated a beast for Bosso players’ pre-season camp that starts next week, said:
“I’m a Highlanders’ son, grew up in Highlanders; I’m a life member, I’ve a passion for Highlanders and I want to improve the welfare of Highlanders as well as grow the Highlanders’ brand. This is not to say the guys who are in have done anything bad, but I want to call it value change.
“Donating to Highlanders is not a first for me nor is it an election gimmick. I remember when Maphepha (Ernest Sibanda) was the chairman, they would ask for donations and now they said they want a beast and water for the boys and I gave them because I love Highlanders.
“Besides Mutuma, that Chapungu goalkeeper Talbert Shumba was my player. I brought him to Highlanders; he then left for FC Platinum before joining Chapungu.”
The treasurer’s election pits incumbent Donald Ndebele and Bulawayo banker Charles Moyo. The Chronicle