THE High Court has reinstated former Bulawayo deputy mayor Gift Banda, who was fired early this year by Local Government, Public Works and National Housing minister Saviour Kasukuwere on misconduct allegations.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
The ruling by Justice Martin Makonese followed an appeal by Banda to the High Court challenging his dismissal.
Kasukuwere fired Banda following recommendations by an independent tribunal appointed by the minister last year to investigate the council, following an outcry by residents over allegations of corruption and maladministration.
Banda was eventually fired in February together with ward 21 councillor Reuben Matengu after they were initially suspended in September last year.
In his ruling, Justice Makonese said after examining the submissions by Banda’s lawyers, he was satisfied that the decision by the independent tribunal and the Local Government ministry to expel him was misdirected.
“It is, therefore, clear that the decision of the tribunal was not grounded on any facts on the record and was not based on any sound legal basis. Such a decision is grossly irregular and unreasonable,” he said.
“Accordingly, I am satisfied that the applicant is entitled to the relief sought in the draft, it is ordered as follows: The decision of the first respondent finding applicant guilty on any gross misconduct be and is, hereby, set aside and substituted with an order finding applicant not guilty of any act of misconduct.
“The applicant is, hereby, reinstated as councillor for ward 5 and Bulawayo deputy mayor with no loss of allowances and benefits.”
In his application, Banda had cited Kasukuwere, Bulawayo City Council, the independent tribunal and its members Advocate Hilda Makusha Moyo, Midard Khumalo and Lucy Manhokwe as the respondents.
Banda, in his founding affidavit, said the tribunal erred when it found him guilty of gross misconduct, arguing that its decision was premised on irregular and unreasonable findings.
He said the basis of the application was that the decision of the first respondent (independent tribunal) 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,” Banda said. – NewsDay