FORMER National Pharmaceutical Company (NatPharm) boss Walter Nhau has been ordered by the High Court to return the company vehicle he was using after being sacked from his job.
Natpharm approached the court seeking to recover its vehicle from Nhau, who was the firm’s human resources manager.
Nhau was fired in July 2020 although his contract was set to expire in 2024. Justice Emilia Muchawa ruled in favour of the pharmaceutical company on March 18 this year and ordered that Nhau return the Mazda BT50 vehicle back to the company.
“The application for rei vindication be and is hereby granted .The respondent be and is hereby ordered to surrender the Mazda BT50 motor vehicle to the applicants’ offices within 48 hours of this order,” ruled Muchawa. Natpharm had argued that it was the rightful owner of the vehicle and had only given Nhau the car for him to conduct his duties with ease. It, therefore, saw no need for him to retain the car as he was no longer employed by it.
However Nhau argued that although his contract had been terminated, he still had a right to retain the car as he had a legitimate expectation of reinstatement. He based his expectation on the fact that he had taken his “unlawful” contract termination up with the labour court and was still awaiting judgment.
He had also told the courts that there had been talks between him and the company to give him his position back, thereby raising a strong argument for him to rely on the expectation of his reinstatement as manager.
However, the judge discarded his arguments as she reasoned that an expectation was not a valid reason for him to keep the car.
“The claim of a legitimate expectation is just that, an expectation. It does not give rise to any contract of employment entitling the respondent to retain the vehicle,” said Muchawa.