GWERU: The civil court recently threw out a former City of Gweru Town Clerk, Elizabeth Gwatipedza appeal against a disciplinary hearing the resulted in her dismissal from the local authority’s top office in 2019.
Gwatipedza who had been suspended and charged with several counts was found guilty of three charges that included disobeying a lawful order to submit her contract of employment and those of other department heads to the council.
Gwatipedza was also found guilty of gross incompetence in the performance of her work in that she failed to comply with the audit and supervise the finance department.
The third charge implicated that Gwatipedza was guilty of inefficiency in that she refused, failed, or neglected to ensure that council resolutions were implemented timeously, to coordinate departments in the workplace, to discharge the council’s mandate of ensuring service delivery, and generally to run the affairs of the council.
Filing for appeal against the disciplinary committee’s decision, Gwatipedza had argued that she had not disobeyed the council by denying to hand over contracts of employment noting that her roles were clearly spelt out in the Urban Councils Act and also argued there was no clause that gave the mayor, but the council, had the power to ask for such.
Gwatipedza also said he failed to meet audit deadlines over reasons that when she was employed, the audit cycle was already behind, there was no head in the finance department, and that there was a lack of qualified personnel among other reasons.
The former town clerk was also of the argument that she failed to implement council resolutions since she was on leave.
Judgment number LC/MD/27/2021 however concluded that Gwatipedza’s appeal lacks merit and ordered the appeal be dismissed with the applicant to meet costs.
Some of the court’s arguments in dismissing the appeal included that Gwatipedza had disobeyed council orders as cross-examination showed that the Mayor was acting on council resolution in demanding her contract of employment and those of other heads of departments.
The court also noted that Gwatipedza failed to achieve maximum productivity in so far as the Audit cycle was concerned.
“She failed to meet deadlines. The reason she gave for failing to meet deadlines is not satisfactory. The applicant was doing something but in an inefficient manner,” reads part of the judgment.
“It was the applicant’s duty to properly monitor, administer and control the activities of all council employees as provided by the law. Even if she was not an expert in engineering, procurement, or health, she had to discharge her obligations in terms of the Urban Council’s Act. There is no evidence that was led to show that she exercised her supervisory roles as required by the governing Act,” further reads the judgment on whether Gwatipedza showed gross incompetence and inefficiency by failing to implement council resolutions timeously.
The court thereby finally resolved that ‘…this is a case where an employee willfully disobeyed a lawful order and was grossly incompetent and inefficient to the performance of her duties. In the circumstances, a penalty of dismissal cannot be said to be unreasonable. This court cannot, therefore, interfere with the penalty that was imposed by the employer.