Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Court Reporter
BULAWAYO High Court judge Justice Martin Makonese yesterday reserved judgment in a matter in which former Bulawayo deputy mayor Mr Gift Banda is challenging his dismissal from the local authority.
Mr Banda was fired by the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Saviour Kasukuwere following recommendations by an independent tribunal.
He was fired in February this year together with Ward 21 Councillor Reuben Matengu after they appeared before the independent tribunal for gross misconduct and mismanagement following their suspension in September 2016.
In papers before the court, Mr Banda cited Minister Kasukuwere, Bulawayo City Council, the independent tribunal and its members Advocate Hilda Makusha Moyo, Midard Khumalo and Lucy Manhokwe as the respondents.
Mr Banda who is being represented by Mr Kholwani Ngwenya of TJ Mabhikwa and Partners, is seeking an order nullifying the decision of the independent tribunal and be substituted with an order declaring him not guilty of any act of misconduct.
The axed deputy mayor wants the court to reinstate him in his council positions without any loss of allowances and benefits.
Justice Makonese said the fairest way to deal with the matter was through scrutinising the submissions by the lawyer and come up with a written judgment.
“I cannot just dismiss the decision by the tribunal by merely a stroke of a pen without looking at the submissions. You (Mr Ngwenya) need to first show the unreasonableness and gross irregularity of the decision of the tribunal so that the court applies its mind,” said the judge.
“The fairest way to deal with this matter is through looking at the submissions and come up with written reasons. Accordingly, judgment is reserved in the matter,” ruled Justice Makonese.
Mr Banda was fired after he was found guilty of unproceduraly getting a lease for the construction of a social club at Hume Park but was exonerated in the purchase of a piece of land at Ascot race course for the construction of town houses.
In his founding affidavit, Mr Banda said the tribunal erred when it found him guilty of gross misconduct, arguing that its decision was premised on irregular and unreasonable findings.
“The basis of this application is that the decision of the first respondent (independent) finding me guilty of an act of gross misconduct in the acquisition of lease by Entertainment Headquarters is grossly irregular and unreasonable. It is premised on the independent tribunal’s grossly irregular and unreasonable finding that by co-signing the application for a lease by Entertainment Headquarters I wanted to influence the decision on the application yet council did not approve or grant the application, which I had co-signed,” he said.
Mr Banda said he co-signed an application for lease for Entertainment Headquarters in respect of the construction of a social club situated between 2nd and 4th Avenue along Samuel Parirenyatwa Street in Bulawayo. He said the application was unsuccessful.
He said there was no evidence that he tried to influence the process. — @mashnets