TRANSPORT Minister Obert Mpofu’s troubles following the closure of his newspaper early this year continue to mount amid reports his properties could be attached.
Mpofu was dragged to court by 20 former Zimbabwe Mail journalists and tens of other support staff for failure to pay salaries amounting to over $200 000.
The matter was heard at the labour court on Wednesday and referred to an arbitrator.
Lawyer Oliver Marume of Matsikidze and Mucheche legal practitioners, representing the workers, warned Mpofu that his clients would consider other legal means including attaching directors’ properties if the minister continues to dither on his obligations.
“If the publishers think they can evade their obligations by seeking liquidation we will consider seriously attaching properties belonging to directors,” said Marume.
The Zimbabwe Mail hit troubled waters early this year after just over a year in the streets.
Financed by Mpofu, one of President Robert Mugabe’s richest ministers, the paper was turned into a weekly late February before eventually shutting shop.
Marume argued at the labour Court that the paper’s publishers had closed without notice and had failed to pay workers for five months.
The reference to arbitration came after the parties reached a deadlock.
All in all 55 workers are suing Mpofu.
“It is surprising that management has failed to present its defence line…in that instance the matter will now go before an independent arbitrator,” said Marume.
The Zimbabwe Mail is represented by Dumisani Mtombeni, one of the directors