NINE managers at the Victoria Falls Municipality have dragged the local authority to court seeking an order directing it to reverse a decision to cut their salaries and allowances.
In 2014, the Government directed that salaries for local authorities’ management shouldn’t exceed 30 percent of council revenues to ensure that the bulk of funds go towards service delivery.
The municipality cut down basic salaries and allowances in March this year in line with the Government directive. The Town Clerk’s salary is now pegged at $3 200 after a full council endorsed the decision in February.
The local authority had initially resisted the salary cuts claiming that Victoria Falls is expensive hence it should be treated differently.
However, nine of its managers are now seeking relief against the local authority to restate their basic salaries and allowances that were varied downwards. Details of the salary scales for each were not availed. The nine are Messrs Moses Darlington Sibanda (internal auditor and chairperson of the Management Workers’ Committee), Lot Syatimbula (Director of Housing and Community Services), Thembinkosi Khumalo (Town Treasurer), Nerville Ndlovu (Deputy Town Treasurer), Ngqabutho Moyo (Public Relations and Economic Development Officer), Lazarus Mudenda (accountant), Mlondi Mlotshwa (System Administrator) , Nathaniel Ngwenya (Operations Engineer) and Ms Sherinah Sibanda (Town Engineer).
They claim, through their lawyer Mr Zibusiso Ncube of Ncube and Partners Legal Practitioners, that they were never consulted on the decision, thereby making it unlawful.
The Victoria Falls Municipality and the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing are cited as the first and second respondents and are represented by Mr Thulani Nkala of Dube and Company.
The applicants want the local authority to pay the shortfall dating back to March together with interest.In his founding affidavit, Mr Sibanda, representing all the nine applicants, said:
“Applicants seek a declaratur that the 1st Respondent’s decision by resolution of its councillors dated 29th of February 2016 to unilaterally vary downwards the terms and conditions of employment of applicants by cutting salaries and allowances and abolishing some allowances with effect from March 2016, without first engaging applicants or affording them the right to be heard, is unlawful and invalid, and is set aside.
“The decision of the 1st respondent through its council to vary downwards basic salaries and allowances and to abolish certain allowances is unlawful and invalid because it’s a deliberate case of a purported unilateral variation of some of the terms and conditions of the contracts of employment of applicants who haven’t accepted the purported unilateral variation of some of the terms and conditions of their contracts of employment and they hold the 1st Respondent to the basic salaries and allowances existing prior to the purported unilateral variation.”
This, the applicants argue, is a breach of justice and Constitutional rights.
“It is our prayer that the 1st Respondent’s decision be and is hereby declared unlawful and invalid, and is set aside,” said the applicants.
“Mr Joseph Mhakayakora, acting on behalf of the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, filed an opposing affidavit and the case has been set down for hearing before Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Nicholas Mathonsi on Friday.