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Ex-Praz boss challenges dismissal

By Zvamaida Murwira

Former Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ) chief executive Mr Nyasha Chizu, has approached the High Court challenging the termination of his contract.

Procurement Authority of Zimbabwe chief executive officer Mr Nyasha Chizu
Procurement Authority of Zimbabwe chief executive officer Mr Nyasha Chizu

PRAZ has opposed the suit arguing that due process was followed including seeking and securing endorsement from the President in terms of the Public Entities Corporate Governance Act.

The High Court is set to fix a date for the case.

In his papers, Mr Chizu argued that his termination notice was invalid given that he was never heard in terms of the Constitution.

Mr Chizu said he was initially sent on “administrative leave”, which he said had all ingredients of a suspension.

He submitted that the Labour Act, which provides termination of contract on notice, was unconstitutional.

Outlining the background of his case, Mr Chizu said in July last year, PRAZ chairperson Mrs Vimba Nyemba directed him to go on “administrative leave”, which he averred as it had all the ingredients of a suspension despite categorical denial by the chairperson that the leave had nothing to do with any disciplinary or misconduct issues.

He said the 30-day “administrative leave” was renewed twice until a letter terminating employment was subsequently issued. “In the premises, I submit that the provisions of the Labour Act which allow for termination of employment on notice arbitrarily are inconsistent with my rights in terms of the Constitution and should therefore be declared unconstitutional.

“I submit further that the purported termination of my employment was done in terms of an unconstitutional provision, thereby becoming unlawful and therefore should be accordingly set aside,” said Mr Chizu.

“Further to the above, I am seeking consequential relief in the form of setting aside of the termination of my employment on the basis that the termination was done in contravention of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.”

But PRAZ, represented by Mrs Nyemba, opposed the application saying: “In accordance with Section 11 (1) of the Public Entities Corporate Governance 2018 (Statutory Instrument 168 of 2018) PRAZ sought and secured on 15 October 2020 the endorsement of the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe to terminate Chizu’s contract of employment. A copy of the letter confirming such endorsement is annexed hereto.”

She said on October 16 2020, PRAZ had also in terms of the same law given the responsible minister seven days’ notice of their intention to terminate Mr Chizu’s contract of employment.

Mrs Nyemba said the failure by Mr Chizu to cite Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister, Professor Paul Mavima rendered defective his bid to have a clause in the Labour Act nullified, given that he was entitled to be heard since he was the one who administered it.

“The legislative provision Mr Chizu seeks to impugn forms part of the Act of Parliament which falls under the purview of the Minister. By virtue of being affected by any determination that may be made, the Minister ought to be afforded the opportunity to be heard before hand,” said Mrs Nyemba.

She said Mr Chizu was improperly before the court given that he had also taken his case before the Labour Officer. The Herald

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