The Parliamentary Legal Committee which comprises two Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front legislators, Fortune Chasi and Jonathan Samukange and one Movement for Democratic Change Member of Parliament Jessie Majome, two of whom are former deputy Justice Ministers, issued an adverse report on the Labour Amendment Bill because they believed in violated the separation of powers between the legislature and the judiciary
They also felt that the bill violated the rights of employers because they had fired their workers legally after the 17 July Supreme Court ruling.
Parliament, however, overturned the adverse report.
Below is the full contribution by the committee chairman Fortune Chasi.
ADVERSE REPORT OF THE PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE ON LABOUR AMENDMENT BILL (H. B. 7, 2015)
MR. CHASI: Thank you Madam Chairperson. In pursuit of its constitutional mandate as provided for in Section 152(3)(a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, the Parliamentary Legal Committee met on the 18th of August, 2015 at 1130hrs to consider the Labour Amendment Bill [H.B. 7, 2015]. After deliberations, the Committee resolved that an adverse report be issued in respect of the Bill. In compliance with Standing Order 32 (3), members of the Committee, legally qualified and as envisaged by Section 152(2) of the Constitution, unanimously agreed and present were: Honourables Chasi, Samukange and Majome that the Bill contained provisions that, if enacted would violate the Constitution.
The adverse report was issued due to the following considerations: Clause 18 (Transitional Provision) The clause provides for the retrospective application of Section 12 of the Act to every employee whose services were terminated on three months’ notice on or after the 17th July. The Committee unanimously agreed that the clause violates Section 3 (2) (e) of the Constitution regarding of the separation of powers in that the judgement made by the Judiciary was correct at law and in seeking to nullify that by an insertion of the retrospective clause, Parliament will have violated the principle of separation of powers. Additionally, since the employers acted from the correct position at law, and having vested rights in terms of the Act, applying the retrospective provisions in the clause would be punitive on the employer and violates Section 56 of the Constitution relating to equal protection of the law.
Moreover, in the case of Walls vs Walls 1996 (2) ZLR 117, it was held that although Parliament has the power to legislate retrospectively,however, as much as possible, legislation should not be made in a manner which interferes with accrued rights. In this regard, the right accrued in this case relates to the vested rights of the employer to terminate on notice.
Due to the aforesaid, the Committee resolved on a majority of 4:0 to issue an adverse report on the Bill. I thank you.