The Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA) has filed an urgent chamber application with the High Court seeking nullification of teacher suspensions. The government announced in February that it was suspending teachers who went on industrial action when schools reopened on 7 February. Teachers were demanding restoration of pre-October 2018 salaries that were around US$540 and better working conditions. In a statement, seen by Pindula News, ZIMTA said the suspensions were in violation of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. We present the statement below:
ZIMTA Files Urgent Chamber Application Challenging Teacher Suspensions
Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (ZIMTA) has filed an urgent chamber application with the High Court seeking to render suspension of teachers from duty null and void as the victims were not heard neither did, they make any representation before the imposition of the suspension orders by their respective district school inspectors acting as disciplinary authorities contrary to common law and the Administrative Justice Act.
The urgent chamber application was filed on 9 March 2022, with the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education and the Public Service Commission as the first and second respondent respectively.
In the application filed by Messers Matika, Gwisai and Partners, the suspensions were qualified as unlawful, unreasonable, disproportionate and both substantively procedurally unfair in violation of sections 65(1), 65(4) and 68(1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 20) Act, 2013.
In addition, applicants are seeking a declaratory order to the effect that section 48(1) as ready with 49(3(b)(ii) of the Public Service and Regulations which were unto suspend the teachers be declared unconstitutional as they are inconsistent with sections 65(1) and 65(4) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
“There are financial implications to the suspensions as they will be on reduced earnings for the three months and they endure the strain as if they have been found guilty of any wrongdoings. They are likely to fail to meet personal financial liabilities and commitments and monthly subscriptions such as medical aid, pensions, funeral assurance and the likes may end up being suspended or potentially lapse a situation which may not be cured by any damages,” ZIMTA said justifying the urgency.
“The applicants have no other remedy or relief available to them other than approaching this court to aid in averting the violation of their constitutional and inherent right. In this premise we believe that this matter is urgent and ought to be delt with as such it can not afford to wait on the normal roll as this would attract perverse conduct from the employer”
Speaking on the sidelines, ZIMTA CEO, Dr Sifiso Ndlovu said the move was necessitated by the need to protect teachers who are being unfairly dismissed from duty.