Crime & Courts

Courts Stops Prosecution of NRZ Employee during National Lockdown

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By ZLHR

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.

Robert Tapfumaneyi

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