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Fired police officers challenge dismissal

by Staff reporter
30 Nov 2019 at 10:47hrs | Views
THREE police officers who were forced to retire on medical grounds after sustaining injuries during the course of duty have taken Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga to court challenging their dismissal.

Ex-Constables Maxwell Zhuwawu, Emmanuel Bizeki and Gift Magwada were discharged from their duties between July and August by Comm-Gen Matanga on medical grounds.

The three former cops said they were injured at work and were never on sick leave. They argued that their dismissal resembled some form of discrimination against disability.

Zhuwawu was injured while playing soccer for the ZRP Western Commonage Police team last year in August while Bizeki was shot and injured by a member of the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) who had gone berserk while they were trying disarm him at Chiadzwa diamond fields.  

He sustained 19 percent degree of disability after he was shot on the hand and lower part of the leg.  

The incident occurred in April 2010. Magwada, who was a mechanic attached at ZRP Transtech, was injured on the left eye resulting in blindness after a drop of brake fluid leaked into the eye while in the process of fixing a clutch of a police vehicle from underneath.

He had been assigned by his superiors and the incident occurred in November 2014. Magwada said there was no likelihood of recovering the money he incurred in medical expenses and drugs which were sold in United States dollars.  

The three ex-cops, who are all self-actors, filed separate court applications at the Bulawayo High Court citing Comm-Gen Matanga and the Police Commission as respondents.

They want an order nullifying the decision of the respondents and to be reinstated into the ZRP without loss of salary and benefits. The three applicants are also challenging the respondents' decision made in terms of section 20 of the Police Act to deny them right of appeal, and want it to be declared unlawful.In their founding affidavits, Zhuwawu, Bizeki and Magwada argued that their discharge was malicious and irrational.

"There are three sections dealing with discharge in the Police Act, that is section 20 dealing with discharge on medical grounds, section 48 dealing with discharge while imprisoned and section 50 dealing with discharge after a board of inquiry into suitability of a member. However, for all these, only section 20 has no provision for an appeal and the legislature construed the members of the police with their counterparts in the civil service where it is expected that those who are bedridden and showing no signs of recovery should be discharged in this manner," they argued.

The applicants want the court to determine whether it is rational and not malicious to deny members an appeal after being affected by section 20 of the Police Act.

"This court has inherent jurisdiction, meaning it can decide on matters which were not addressed by the legislature and left hanging as long as these matters negatively affect legal subjects. Is it fair to treat a member who was injured while at work performing Government duties the same as any person who fell sick while at home?"

According to the Labour Act, if an employee falls sick, he or she is given 90 days of sick leave on full salary and in the event that they fail to recover within that period, they are entitled to another 90 days on half salary. If they remain bedridden for a further period they are then retired on medical grounds.

Source - chroncile