THE High Court has ordered the state-run National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) to stop disciplinary proceedings against its employee Andrew Bakasa, who had been summoned to answer to charges of misconduct.
Bakasa, who is employed as an engineer at NRZ’s Mutare office, had
been summoned by the state-run rail company’s Senior Personnel Officer
only identified as Madovi to appear before a disciplinary hearing on
12 February 2021 in Mutare after he was charged with serious
misconduct and wilful disobedience to a lawful order.
But the proceedings could not proceed after Bakasa engaged lawyers
Memory Mandingwa and Moses Chikomo of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human
Rights, who on 11 February 2021 filed an urgent chamber application at
Mutare High Court seeking an order to stay the disciplinary
proceedings against the NRZ employee.
In the application, Mandingwa and Chikomo argued that congregating for
the purposes of a disciplinary hearing during the national lockdown
period caused a real risk for the NRZ employee and members of the
disciplinary tribunal of contracting coronavirus.
The lawyers further argued that NRZ should consider conducting the
disciplinary hearing proceedings after the national lockdown has been
relaxed or lifted.
The High Court recently ruled in favour of Bakasa and ordered that
subjecting Bakasa to a hearing during the national lockdown period
poses a real risk of exposure to contracting coronavirus.
Already, trials and non-urgent matters have been postponed across
Zimbabwean courts during the national lockdown declared by government
in January due to rising cases of coronavirus, which currently stand
at 35 960 and 1 456 deaths.