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Gift Banda challenges dismissal at High Court

by Staff reporter
14 Apr 2017 at 10:34hrs | Views

FORMER Bulawayo deputy mayor Mr Gift Banda, who was fired by the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Saviour Kasukuwere following recommendations made by an independent tribunal, is challenging his dismissal at the High Court.
Mr Banda was fired in February this year together with Ward 21 Councillor Reuben Matengu after they appeared before an independent tribunal for alleged gross misconduct and mismanagement following their suspension in September last year.
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 lawyers TJ Mabhikwa and Partners, is seeking an order nullifying the decision of the independent tribunal and an order declaring him not guilty of any act of misconduct.
The axed deputy mayor wants the court to reinstate him to his council positions without any loss of allowances and benefits.
Minister Kasukuwere fired him following recommendations made by the tribunal that found him guilty of unprocedurally 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 where he is building town houses.
Mr Matengu on the other hand was found guilty of selling a residential stand in Southwold suburb, which he had bought under a special facility which gave him a 40 percent discount on the purchase price.
The tribunal said the councillor was not supposed to resell it according to the agreement of sale.
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 tribunal) of finding me guilty of an act of gross misconduct in the acquisition of a 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 the lease of 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.
"In fact, evidence before the tribunal proved that procedure was religiously followed in the application made by Entertainment Headquarters, and there was no evidence of interference by myself with the processing of the application. The decision of the tribunal is not supported by evidence in the record of proceedings which is incomplete and inconclusive," Mr Banda said.
"I therefore seek a review of the first respondent's decision, and that it accordingly is set aside and be substituted with an order finding me not guilty of any act of misconduct, and reinstating me as Councillor for Ward 5 in Bulawayo and deputy mayor with no loss of allowances and benefits."

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