Monday, 26 March 2018

EX TREASURER GETS $300K GOLDEN HANDSHAKE

THE High Court has ordered cash-strapped Municipality of Victoria Falls to pay its retired treasurer, Mr Thembinkosi Khumalo, a package of nearly $300 000 as a golden handshake.

The ruling by Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Nicholas Mathonsi follows a protracted legal battle pitting Mr Khumalo and the Local Government Board over the hefty package.

Mr Khumalo (62), who retired in 2016 after serving the municipality for 25 years, was entitled to a retirement package which included a gratuity of $236 250, a cellphone, laptop and a Toyota D4D double cab vehicle worth $35 000 bought in 2014.

Mr Khumalo through his lawyers, Moyo-Majwabu and Nyoni Legal Practitioners, filed an application at the Bulawayo High Court challenging the decision by Local Government Board to reject his retirement package.

In papers before the court, the Municipality of Victoria Falls and the Local Government Board were cited as respondents.

Mr Khumalo sought an order nullifying the decision of the Local Government Board to reject the council resolution to award him his package.

Justice Mathonsi said the court was not obliged to assist the respondents’ side step the imperatives of the contract, which they entered into “with their eyes wide open.”
He set aside the decision by the Local Government Board regarding the gratuity of the applicant and directed the council to pay Mr Khumalo his package.

“The first respondent (Municipality of Victoria Falls) be and hereby directed to pay the gratuity due to the applicant in terms of the council resolution made on 30 August, 2016,” ruled Justice Mathonsi.
According to court papers, the municipality is mandated to pay Mr Khumalo in terms of Sections 21 and 22 of the Victoria Falls Municipality’s conditions of service.

Section 21 states: “An employee who has completed five or more years of continuous service on termination of such employment, irrespective of the circumstances of such termination, shall be paid a gratuity calculated as a percentage of the employee’s current (yearly) earnings multiplied by the number of years served.”

The policy compels the municipality to pay those who have served five to 10 years, 15 percent of their yearly basic salary multiplied by the number of years served.

Those who retire after serving for 11 to 20 years get 20 percent of the same, while 25 percent is paid to those whose period of service is between 21 and 30 years.

Thirty percent is paid to those who serve between 31 and 40 years, while an employee who retires after serving for 41 years and above gets 35 percent.
Mr Khumalo, whose basic monthly salary was $3 150 excluding allowances, is entitled to 25 percent of his annual salary multiplied by the number of years served.
His total exit package will be $269 496, 82.

Councillors were initially divided over Mr Khumalo’s exit package, with some saying the outgoing town treasurer should pay for the vehicle since it was still new. They, however, eventually agreed that this was part of his retirement package, although they called for the council management vehicle policy to be revisited because the municipality was likely to lose all vehicles allocated to executives.
The Local Government Board had, however, refused to approve Mr Khumalo’s package through a letter dated May 5, 2017. Chronicle

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