Eddie Chikamhi, Harare Bureau
THE dispute between Heath Streak and Zimbabwe Cricket is likely to drag longer as the former national team coach has taken his legal battle a gear up by seeking to stop the association from appointing new personnel to fill his position.
Streak and his entire technical team were fired after the national team failed to qualify for the ICC World Cup 2019 in a qualifying tournament on home soil last month.
However, the former Zimbabwe skipper has challenged the decision and yesterday his lawyers wrote to Zimbabwe Cricket compelling them to shelve their plans to hunt for a new technical team.
Streak, the highest paid coach in the history of the game at $23 000 a month, said his dismissal was unprocedural and unlawful.
The former coach is also mulling suing for defamation over the alleged racial remarks made by the ZC chairman, Tavengwa Mukuhlani.
Streak refused to accept the initial communication of the termination of his contract on a technicality before the board on Monday made an interesting decision to reinstate him and then hours later sent another letter of dismissal on three months’ notice, according to Zimbabwe’s Labour Law.
His lawyer George Mlotshwa, a senior partner at Titan Law, yesterday replied to ZC managing director, Faisal Hasnain, questioning most of the sections quoted by the association in their final contract termination letter.
“Our clients are in possession of correspondence purporting to terminate their employment contracts on notice. Particular reference is made to correspondence dated 9th April, 2018 addressed to Mr Streak, and purportedly signed on your behalf.
“Our clients note, with bemusement, the consistent bungling, amounting to harassment, associated with the unlawful attempts to terminate their employment contracts with Zimbabwe Cricket. We wish to point out that:
“1. The section 12 (4a) and 12 (4) of the Labour Act 28:01 sought to be relied upon in terminating our client(s) contracts are of no force and effect. They simply do not apply in the present circumstances.
“2. Any attempt to terminate our clients’ employments contracts on notice, is, for the record, also of no force and effect at law.
“3. Any attempt to employ any other person in the positions our clients are presently employed by ZC is, and will be, patently unlawful, and also of no force and effect,” read part of the letter.
ZC have indicated they want to move with speed to appoint the technical team with advertisements for the coaching positions set to be flighted in the media without delay.
The association are looking to have put in place a new technical team by the time Zimbabwe host a triangular series involving giants Pakistan and Australia.
But while some in the technical department have accepted their fate, Streak, batting consultant Lance Klusener and fitness trainer Sean Bell have refused to go down without a fight.
The coaches’ lawyers also alleged that the letters were signed by an unauthorised personnel, therefore were null and void.
“Our clients note not with concern that all correspondence directed at them from Zimbabwe Cricket is presently signed by unknown persons, purportedly on behalf of the managing director of Zimbabwe Cricket.
“Our clients, on the basis of advice, do not, in addition to the grounds set forth above, accept that this faceless and nameless character, signing the said correspondence, has any lawful authority to do so from Zimbabwe Cricket Board.
“Indeed, we hereby demand, forthwith, a copy of a resolution signed by ALL board members, lawfully authorising an identified human being to sign all such correspondence on behalf of the managing director.”
And amid the sledging that has almost turned personal, Streak also threatened to sue for defamation for the “racial insinuations” allegedly made by Mukuhlani.
“Our clients, in particular, Mr Streak, note with concern the continued defamatory statements long churned out by Zimbabwe Cricket, in particular the union’s chairman, the latest being insinuations of racism on the part of Mr Streak.
“You will agree that this is absolute and unmitigated nonsense on the part of the chairman of Zimbabwe Cricket.
“We advised our client of the legal consequences of these careless and mischievous utterances. He will in fact hear from ourselves shortly in respect of his statements. Please be guided accordingly,” wrote Mlotshwa.