The court case between Netone Cellular (Pvt) Limited and former CEO Lazarus Muchenje has been referred to the labour court as Mr Muchenje is determined to retain his post.
Justice Esther Muremba said the High Court had no jurisdiction, as a court of the first instance in labour issues and these should first be dealt with by the Labour Court.
The High Court has heard applications for interim interdicts, but Mr Muchenje is now dealing with the substantive legal issues of whether NetOne can fire him on three months notice, hence the ruling she added.
Muchenje is suing Netone vice-chairperson Susan Mutangadura, board members, Winston Makamure, Ranagarirai Mavhunga, Beulah Chirume, Douglas Mamvura, and NetOne following his dismissal in July 2020. Now acting Netone vice-chairperson Susan Mutangadura handed Muchechenje a dismissal letter with a three months notice for undisclosed reasons.
On 23 December last Muchenjenje approached the high court challenging his dismissal. He argued that the termination letter given to him was illegal and that he can not be fired without the president’s concern. He also wants the NetOne board to be barred from publishing the illegal dismissal or the termination of his contract and advertising his position.
“The letter of termination is illegal and has no force of law in that the applicant’s contract of employment cannot be terminated on notice or in the manner that the respondents purport to terminate it.
“Assuming but without accepting that the president has given his endorsement which for the avoidance of doubt is disputed, the decision to dismiss the applicant is illegal, arbitrary and affront to the laws of natural justice in that the applicant has never been invited to make any misrepresentations.
If respondents are not interdicted from giving effect to the illegal letter of termination which seeks to circumvent a lawful court order and clear provisions of the law, the applicant will suffer irreparable harm to his clear rights, “reads the affidavit.
The high court has now deferred his application to the Labour court saying Labour issues should first be handled by the Labour court.