‘I didn’t fire Sihlalisiwe Mnkandla’ JOHNFAT SIBANDA

Raymond Jaravaza and Innocent Kurira

THE decision to suspend a Highlanders staffer Sihlalisiwe Mnkandla on allegations of insubordination and fraud, which later resulted in the club being dragged to court by the employee for breach of contract, was made by two individuals and not the club executive, a former chairman has claimed. 

The long-serving finance officer, Mnkandla, was suspended in November last year. 

She is accused of failing to avail financial documents requested by auditors looking into the club’s books for the 2023 financial year as well as fraud after club some funds could not be accounted for.

The suspension did not go down well with Mnkandla who promptly hired  a law firm –Calderwood, Bryce Hendrie and Partners – demanding to be reinstated, failure to which she threatened legal action against the club. 

The lawyers’ instructions were to demand that Bosso reinstate their client in 14 days from the date the letter was  written and she proceeded to take legal action against the club when her demands were not met. 

Saturday Chronicle Sports understands Mnkandla was in court on Monday as the club has opened a police case against her but the charges are muddled up. It is believed the club initially reported a case of fraud but later changed it to forgery. The prosecutor is said to have struck off the case before it got to court, for further investigation. 

Inside  sources say the club is failing to substantiate the alleged case against her with factual evidence.

Former  chairman Johnfat Sibanda has come out to clear his name by stating that the initial decision to suspend Mnkandla was not a club executive resolution but was taken by secretary general Morgen ‘Gazza’ Dube and interim treasurer Israel Moyo.

“I see there’s a story about Mrs Mnkandla, stating that she was suspended by the executive led by me. She wasn’t suspended by the executive, but by the secretary (general) acting on the instructions of the treasurer, without the endorsement of the executive. 

Morgen Gazza Dube

“Never at any given time did the executive pass any resolution on such a matter. It should be noted that they (secretary general and interim treasurer) acted against my recommendation of investigating before any suspension. I would appreciate it if this record could be put straight for the benefit of Highlanders membership and the public in general,” said Sibanda. 

Dube fired back at his former boss for trying to absolve himself from decisions that were taken when he was still at the helm of the club. 

“He was not in the meeting that resolved that (suspension of Mnkandla) first and foremost. Secondly it seems even after three years in the club he (Sibanda) still does not know the role of a secretary. Kindly ask him if the lawyer in this case is Dube’s or Highlanders’ official Lawyer. How come she (Mnkandla) is still on suspension if she was not suspended by the club? Ask him who the witness is and how the secretary became involved if he is not the witness?” charged Dube. 

In demanding that she be reinstated, Mnkandla’s lawyers said she had been unlawfully suspended. 

“We have been retained by Mrs Mnkandla  to act on her behalf. Please note our interest. We are instructed by our client that she is employed by Highlanders Football Club in the position of Finance Officer. It is our further instructions that on 28 November 2023, the employer suspended our client without pay and benefits, in terms of SI 15/ 2006 alleging certain acts of misconduct against her.

“In terms of the law, the suspension period cannot be more than 14 working days. The employer  is in breach of its contract of employment in that the employee has been on suspension for a period of almost two months. Our client’s instructions are that she wishes to hold the employer to the contract of employment. 

“We have consequently been instructed  to demand, as we hereby do, that the suspension be lifted and that our client’s pay and benefits be paid to her. In the event that the suspension is not lifted and she is paid her salary and benefits within 14 days of the letter, we will proceed to institute legal proceedings against the employer for appropriate relief. We hope that this will not be necessary and that you will honour our client’s contract of employment,” wrote the lawyers.

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