HARARE – The Supreme Court has quashed a Labour Court ruling that a Zesa Holdings (Private) Limited (Zesa) human resources manager’s salary be slashed after employing a fake degree holder.
The electricity firm appealed to the Supreme Court after the Labour Court ruled that the manager Deporis Masitera was not solely responsible for the employment of an unqualified engineer Samuel Zigori.
According to court documents, Masitera employed Zigori for a mechanical engineering job, yet he did not hold the qualifications. He had instead submitted a national craft certificate.
The Labour Court ruled that Masitera’s failure to notice the anomaly was a shared responsibility, in that the interviewing panel ought to have discovered the mistake.
Zesa, through its lawyer Taona Nyamakura, said the Labour Court had erred in finding that the whole interviewing panel share responsibility, considering that Masitera was the human resources manager, in charge of the recruitment process.
Nyamakura further said that it was Masitera’s requisite to notice that he had shortlisted and employed an unqualified person.
“The findings arrived at the by the learned president (of the Labour Court)…constitute serious misdirections on the facts, and misdirections so unreasonable that no sensible person applying his or her mind to the facts would have arrived at the decision,” Nyamakura said in the court documents.
Masitera in his response said the offence was minor, and that the blame bore shared responsibility.
However, deputy chief justice Luke Malaba said courts have previously dealt with similar cases, where people have been dismissed.
“The issue borders on something more than negligence. He is lucky he got away with negligence or incompetence. When you have done such a thing you don’t spend time coming all the way to this court as if you if have done nothing wrong,” Malaba said.
Malaba further said that it was not the duty of the court to tell an employer, who to charge and who not to charge. Malaba set aside the Labour Court ruling, and allowed Zesa’s appeal with costs.
“Zigori is a thief of a job. He is stealing a job because he does not have the qualifications,” said Malaba, adding that Masitera failed to do what he was required to do as a human resources manager.