250 former ZIPRA soldiers have sued Defence, Security and War Veterans minister Constantino Chiwenga and the Defence Forces Services Commission (DFSC) for unfair termination of employment. The men were dismissed in 1982 during Gukurandi and are demanding pensions and benefits backdated to August 1982.
Part of their court papers read,
On or about August 1982, plaintiffs without notice or a hearing in terms of the law . . . were accused of being dissidents and also defying lawful instructions . . . by their commanders and they were summarily dismissed from the ZDF in violation of their rights.”
…An order declaring plaintiffs’ sacking or firing in 1982 by the defendants as unlawful, unconstitutional and outside the Defence Act. An order that all plaintiffs be given proper letters of discharge and certificates of discharge in terms of the Defence Act. The first defendant [Chiwenga] shall ensure compliance with this order within 30 days of its granting and an order that the second defendant pays costs of suit on an attorney-client scale if the order sought is opposed.
However, Chiwenga and the DFSC have opposed the application, and challenged its merits at the Bulawayo High Court saying,
…The claim must have been instituted within three years and ought to be dismissed on this ground.
Secondly, the plaintiffs were fully paid in terms of the contracts they signed on attestation into ZNA in 1980. According to that contract, the plaintiffs were engaged for a period of seven years, which entitled them to a refund of pension contributions and not a pension.
..The face of the summons lists 39 plaintiffs while declaration talks of 70 and also 250 members. This raises the issue of who the plaintiffs are and where they are today.