MADONDO v CONQUIP ZIMBABWE (PVT) LTD

SUPREME COURT, HARARE

[Labour Appeal SC 25-16]

May 18, 2015

MALABA DCJ, GWAUNZA AND PATEL JJA

Employment  – Termination of employment  –  Resignation by employee  –  What form a notice of resignation must take  –  Whether reason given by employee for withdrawing pension contributions may be taken as resignation.

The appellant was employed by the respondent as a Finance Director. Following a dispute between her and her superiors, she completed a document called “Pension Withdrawal Claim Form”. She indicated under the relevant section of the form that her reason for the withdrawal of her pension benefits was that she was “leaving Conquip”. The completed form was sent to the General Manager, who in turn completed his section and signed. The form was presented to the pension fund and the pension contributions were released to the appellant. The respondent subsequently regarded the appellant as having resigned from her employment. The appellant disputed that she had resigned, claiming that she had simply withdrawn herself from membership of the pension scheme because she needed money to pay school fees for her child.

Both the arbitrator and the Labour Court determined that the appellant had unilaterally terminated her employment through her resignation as communicated through the pension withdrawal form that she had signed. Her appeal to the Supreme Court was dismissed.

Held, that the form a notice of resignation should take is not “cast in stone”. A resignation can take any form as long as it is communicated to the correct recipient.

Held, that on the facts of this case, in stating her reason for withdrawing her contributions as “leaving Conquip”, the appellant was resigning and the communication of that resignation took place when the General Manager read the form, completed and signed his section of it. The resignation took effect from the moment of its communication to the General Manager.

Case cited:

Jakazi & Anor v Anglican Church of the Province of Central Africa SC 10-13 (unreported), applied

Book cited:

Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (6th edn, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2000)

T Zhuwarara, for the appellant

DM Foroma, for the respondent

GWAUNZA JA:

This is an appeal against the whole judgment of the Labour Court of Zimbabwe handed down by Chidziva J on 28 June 2013 at Harare. The appellant prays that the appeal succeeds and that the respondent be ordered to pay the costs of suit on a higher scale. After hearing counsel for both parties we dismissed the appeal with costs on a higher scale and stated that the reasons would follow. These are they:

The facts and background to this matter are as follows:

The appellant was employed by the respondent as a Finance Director from May 2007 up to February 2012. She was entitled to a number of benefits, one of them being payment of school fees for both of her children. In February 2012 the appellant had a dispute with the respondent’s Managing Director and General Manager. A meeting that was held between the appellant and the General Manager resulted in her being sent home on suspension.

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