The Sunday News
Ngqwele Dube, Sports Correspondent
THE Zimbabwe Football Association will have to fork out $187 290 to pay former Mighty Warriors coach, Shadreck Mlauzi after the Labour Court confirmed he is owed the dues.
An initial ruling by the Labour Officer stated that Mlauzi was in Zifa’s employ despite denials by the football governing body who said they did not have a contract with the coach hence they did not owe him any amount for his time in charge of the women’s national team.
Labour officer Emilton Verukai ruled that Zifa owes Mlauzi a total of $187 290 in a draft ruling in March and had taken the case to the Labour Court to have the ruling confirmed. The amount comprises unpaid salaries for the entire period of employment, camping fees, foreign matches allowances and qualification bonuses for major tournaments.
In her ruling, made on 26 October (Judgement number LC/MT/164/18), Honourable Justice Mercy Moya-Matshanga granted the confirmation of the ruling without any amendments. Moya-Matshanga said despite Zifa denying the existence of an employment contract between it and Mlauzi there was a clear employee-employer relationship between the two parties.
Part of the ruling reads: “In casu, it is clear that the 2nd respondent (Mlauzi) did not perform his own tasks at his own terms for instance, he was told when to go to camp, which camp, the time to arrive at camp. He was under strict instruction of the 1st respondent (Zifa). He was told the duration of the camping and what he was supposed to bring to camp.
“Even the letters requesting the Ministry of Education to release him were written by the 1st respondent, not by the 2nd respondent himself so that he could attend camp. All this is clear from the letter of the 3rd of November 2016 written by the (then) acting CEO Mr Joseph Mamutse to the Headmaster of Sikhulile Secondary School in Bulawayo. It is clear that Zifa exercised control over the 2nd respondent and he was at Zifa’s beck and call and was therefore an employee. Had he been an independent contractor he would be operating at his own terms rather than being told what to do and when.”
Zifa had opposed the granting of the application arguing they had no employment contract with Mlauzi and further alleged the former Mighty Warriors coach’s claim was baseless, adding he was only employed on an ad hoc basis and was a permanent employee of Sikhulile Secondary School.
Zifa communications manager, Xolisani Gwesela referred this reporter to their lawyer, Itai Nduzdo for comment but he was not available for comment.
Mlauzi said it was sad the matter had to reach this stage as it could have been solved amicably with the football body without resorting to the courts.
“I hope it ends here and I begin a new chapter in my football career. It was sad after all the efforts that I had put in with the Mighty Warriors and then being told I’m not owed anything. I’m happy with the judgement and pray Zifa will comply and pay me my dues. Justice has certainly been served. I never wanted to approach the courts but I had no choice,” he said.
Mlauzi was dismissed as the women’s national team in January 2017 after he had helped the side reach the 2016 Olympics finals, the highest international level that any Zimbabwe football national team has ever reached.