Ricky Zililo Senior Sports Reporter
HIGHLANDERS FC could lose their minibus and other office property after the club’s former midfielder Masimba Mambare pushed for the club’s property to be attached in a desperate attempt to recover $10,000 in outstanding signing on fees.
Mambare, who sensationally crossed the great divide to join champions Dynamos more than a year ago, is being represented by the Footballers’ Union of Zimbabwe (FUZ), who approached the Deputy Sheriff last Thursday after successfully securing a writ of execution to attach Bosso’s property.
FUZ secretary-general Paul Gundani said he would be meeting with the Deputy Sheriff this afternoon to pay the administrative fee so that the attachment of the property could proceed.
“What made us approach the Deputy Sheriff was that we noted laxity on the part of Highlanders because they acknowledged the debt but never acted. Since last year they never came up with a payment plan and seemed not to take the issue seriously,” said Gundani.
The former national team defender said it was not their intention to approach the Labour Court or get Bosso’s property attached, but the Bulawayo giants’ failure to respond to letters written to them in May 2014 left them with no option, but to take the legal route.
“Last year we wrote to Highlanders twice on May 7 and a week after, but got no response. Both letters were addressed to the then secretary-general Andrew Tapela. The arbitrator’s verdict came out and we waited for more than 30 days thinking that they were going to act, but they didn’t. We were left with no option but to approach the High Court to register it as a court order so that we attach some property. I think we’ve really been patient if you look at the time frame,” said Gundani.
Highlanders and Mambare have been embroiled in a protracted legal wrangle since the player made a sensational switch to Dynamos at the beginning of 2014.
The player sought redress from the Labour Court after numerous efforts to recover his dues bore no fruits.
The Labour Court instructed Highlanders and Mambare to engage an independent arbitrator and the matter was heard by Washington Chitima last month.
“Highlanders FC should pay Mambare $10,000 within 30 days of this award failure of which interest at the prescribed rate shall accrue to any outstanding amount after the date until final payment,” reads part of the award.
According to excerpts from the award, Highlanders engaged Mambare on March 1, 2012 on a two-year contract and were supposed to pay him $5,000 by April 30, 2012, $2,500 at the end of January 2013 with the remainder cleared by June 30, 2013. Highlanders kept promising to pay, but never honoured their word.
Highlanders, who were represented by Tapela at the arbitration, did not dispute factual submissions by Mambare, but tried to have the case struck off on technical grounds.
They alleged that in terms of the Labour Act (Chapter 30:01), Mambare should have instituted his claim within two years from the time he entered into a contract with Highlanders.
“Subject to section 94 (2), no labour officer shall entertain any dispute or unfair labour practice unless it’s referred to him or has otherwise come to his attention within two years from the date when the dispute or unfair labour practice first arose.”
However, FUZ argued that the last payment should have been made on June 30, 2013.
Highlanders’ chief executive officer, Ndumiso Gumede said they are aware that Mambare’s case had been registered at the High Court and blamed a hidden hand for pushing the player to act against Bosso.
“All we know is that his case has since been registered at the High Court. We believe that there are third forces behind this exercise. Even when we went for arbitration, we argued that we aren’t as affluent as we’re perceived to be.
“We never refuted responsibility to pay, but if you look, problems bedevilling Zifa are the same (problems) that clubs face. The current income from gate takings doesn’t meet the expenses and hence we remain owing former and current players,” said Gumede.
Highlanders had their best attendance in the first half of the season with 8,146 people paying to watch their encounter with Triangle United on Sunday.
Bosso realised a gross amount of $27,786 but only took home $12,421 with the rest being gobbled up by service providers.
“From a layman’s point of view, the number of people coming into the stadium is big, but we aren’t making any money. There are too many fingers in the pie, which makes it difficult to clear some of these debts. We’re not refusing to pay anyone, but if you look at the amount taken by service providers, it’s too much,” Gumede said.
Bosso also have pending cases against ex-defender Dumisani “Fazo” Ndlovu, Heritein Masuku, Bruce Tshuma and Atlast Musasa.
Ndlovu, deemed excess baggage at Highlanders at the beginning of the year, is owed $8,500 in signing on fees.
Bosso terminated his contract and he joined Triangle.
Musasa is claiming $1,500, Masuku $4,000 while Tshuma is demanding $4,000 as well as a housing stand from Bosso.