Court grants fired Greenbelt Authority employees relief
The Industrial Relations Court has granted a relief order to 14 employees of Greenbelt Authority, effectively reinstating them in their positions.
Chairperson of the court Austin Msowoya granted the order, also directing the authority to start paying the employees their full salaries and benefits from the month of November 2022 until the matter is resolved.
GBA fired the employees last year on the grounds that they were irregularly recruited between the years 2014 and 2020.
This followed recommendation by the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament which earlier last year queried officials of the state- owned irrigation enterprise, after the 2019-2020 audit report from the National Audit Office (NAO) highlighted the matter.
“Respondents be at liberty to file a motion inter parties to vary or vacate this order on a showing that the order made herein ex parte is irregular or, for any justifiable reason, ought not to have been made,” reads in part the order by the Industrial Relations Court.
In an interview, lawyer for the applicants, Felix Tambulasi, said one of the grounds that pushed the employees to seek a relief order was that their side of the story was not heard.
“We were also surprised that it is the same board that recruited these employees and at the same time they are questioning the legality of their own employment,” he said.
GBA Board Chairperson Peter Kossam said they will challenge the injunction and that currently the Attorney General, Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda, is handling the matter.
“I cannot comment much but we have already engaged the Attorney General to help us. You know we do not have an internal lawyer,” he said.
In the NAO report, the GBA was accused of failing to produce advertisements and interview minutes for vacant positions which were filled, thereby leading to an audit query.