A NORTON family has been squatting along the Harare-Bulawayo highway after being chucked out of their home by their employer.
The family of five,comprising of Musarurwa Munemo,43,his wife Christine Scott and their three teen aged children,claim they were thrown out by management of McNamara Farm owned by Mindy Zvinavashe on Wednesday last week and have been living there since.
The family alleges unfair treatment by their previous employer who did not give them their benefits after working at the farm for 11 years.
“My husband had been employed at McNamara Farm for close to 11 years.Recently he had a run-in with the farm secretary,a Blessing Mucharira.
“We were subsequently told to leave the house we were occupying on the pretext that my husband had been replaced by a new appointee who was supposed to move in with immediate effect.He was given just US$10 as full package.” said Scott.
Scott said problems started in January this year when allegations of theft of a bag of maize were made against her husband.He allegedly forfeited his pay for that month as punishment and was sent on unpaid forced leave in February.
Scott then claims that even during the said leave,Munemo was reporting for duty daily.Musarurwa Munemo corroborated his wife’s version of events saying he was in Harare where he was being assisted by a trade union to seek redress.
“I reported a case of unfair dismissal and am being assisted by the ZFTU to get compensated,which is the only way I can then afford alternative accommodation and transport.
Farm owner,Mindy Zvinavashe,said Musarurwa was dismissed from work in January after stealing a bag of maize.
“I am very much conversant with the labour laws and know my right as an employer.That man went through the required disciplinary procedures and was summarily dismissed for violating our code of conduct.
“I am under no obligation to give benefits to someone dismissed for theft.”
Zvinavashe said when Munemo was dismissed,he was allowed to stay at the farm on humanitarian grounds. Munemo’s children are all secondary school students at a school in the neighboring Porta Farm so an arrangement was that the family was then allowed to stay on until schools closed.
Zvinavashe said she assisted the family to relocate by hiring transport to take them to their rural home in Nyakudya,under Mhondoro Chief Chivero but they chose to settle by the roadside.
“They allegedly forced the driver to drop them off at the place they now call home and the driver came back and reported to me.He is even refusing to refund my $80.” said Zvinavashe.
“Munemo is just out to try and tarnish my image in the eyes of the public,to the extent of faking destitution,”she said.