Zesa to re-engage employee
ZESA fired a worker for writing a letter to a newspaper seeking the return of his former boss, but yesterday the Labour Court told Zesa to reinstate him, saying his rights to express opinions had been violated.
Yesterday, the court ordered Zesa to reinstate Mr Mufaro Stig Hove without any loss of pay or benefits after it held that Mr Hove's dismissal was improper, since he had a right to express his views.
If Zesa's code of conduct prevented employees from criticising Zesa, then this would be a violation of constitutional rights.
Mr Hove was fired after writing a letter published in the Financial Gazette, appealing to former Zesa chief executive, Mr Simbarashe Mangwengwende to come to the rescue of the workers.
In the judgment, the court found that Mr Hove had the right to express his opinions.
Zesa Holdings had dismissed him arguing that his letter had put its name into disrepute and had the likelihood of causing financial prejudice.
The court, however, found that though it was common cause that Mr Hove had written the letter, Zesa Holdings had failed to prove to the court how exactly the letter had put the company's name into disrepute.
"The appellant had a right to express his opinion under the circumstances. It is, however, not clear to this court how exactly the article put the respondent's name into disrepute.
It was also the court's finding that if the Zesa code of conduct prohibited such expression of opinions, then it violated the employees' constitutional rights.
"If writing to the Press is a prohibited conduct, then such a prohibition is in my view, a violation appellant's constitutional rights."
The court said if it was no longer possible for Zesa Holdings to reinstate Mr Hove, then both should agree on a suitable amount to damages to be awarded.
kuthula matshazi <email@example.com> wrote:Congratulations Rufaro on winning the case. It is interesting that you were victimised for free speech. I hope you are the person who knows the importance of free speech and the critical importance to safeguard it. Make sure you impart your experience in this forum and encourage diversity of voices. Who else other than you can champion freedom of speech? Congratulations and wish all the best in your future endeavours.Best, Kuthula
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