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Muchenje wants reinstatement as NetOne CEO through back door: High Court

Former NetOne CEO Lazarus Muchenje

By approaching the High Court seeking resolution of employment disputes and unfair labour practices, embattled former Chief Executive Officer of NetOne, Lazarus Muchenje wants to be reinstated to his former position through the back door, Justice Esther Muremba has ruled.

Muchenje had approached the High Court on the basis that the letter of termination of employment from NetOne was illegal since his contract could not be terminated on notice. Furthermore, there was an interim court order by Justice Chinamhora barring NetOne and NetOne board members (respondents) from giving effect to a similar letter which sought to terminate his contract of employment on notice.

NetOne terminated Muchenje’s contract of employment on notice on 21 December 2020, prompting him to approach the High Court under case number HC 7653/20.

In delivering her judgment, Justice Muremba said, “This court has no jurisdiction to deal with purely employment matters, its jurisdiction having been restricted by the Constitution which created the Labour Court as a Specialist Court to handle employment matters.”

She added that in term of the Nhari judgment, the High Court has no jurisdiction in labour and employment issues.

“Clearly, this is not a matter for an interdict and a declaratur, the applicant is actually challenging the termination of his employment contract and seeking reinstatement as CEO of sixth respondent (NetOne) through the back door.

“In view of the foregoing, I come to the conclusion that I have no jurisdiction to deal with this matter which is an employment matter. In the result, it be and is hereby ordered that:

1.Jurisdiction is declined

2. The applicant shall pay respondents’ costs,” Justice Muremba ruled.

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Byron Adonis Mutingwende