Five former Zambia Air Force (ZAF) officers have petitioned the Constitutional Court seeking an order that ZAF should pay them their housing and utility allowances, including withheld salary arrears until their pension benefits are paid in full.
The five: Owen Mayapi; Mulasikwanda Manengu; Hezron Gondwe; Edward Falanga and Majory Munkena who have sued the Attorney General, are also seeking a declaration that ZAF’s decision to stop paying them housing and utility allowances is unconstitutional.
In a petition filed in the ConCourt registry, Mayapi, Manengu and Gondwe stated that they joined ZAF as officers on different dates and rose to the ranks of Lieutenant-Colonel, Major and Major, respectively.
And Falanga and Munkena stated that they joined ZAF as non-commissioned officers and rose to the ranks of warrant officer class one and two respectively.
The petitioners stated that the conditions governing their employment provided that they could retire from employment upon completion of 10 or more years of service by giving ZAF the prescribed notice.
“In keeping with the condition governing their employment, the five who had all completed more than 10 years of service applied to voluntarily retire from employment with ZAF by giving the due notice to ZAF,” read the petition.
The petitioners stated that ZAF accepted their application for voluntary retirement and advised each of them that they would be paid their benefits calculated in accordance with the Public Service Pensions Act.
They stated that during the period of their employment, their salaries comprised of a basic pay and a housing allowance calculated at 40 per cent of the basic pay for those who were not accommodated in the respondent’s house.
The petitioners stated that on or about November 22, 2018, ZAF issued a circular stopping payment of Housing and Utility allowances to the petitioners and advised them that they were only entitled to be paid their basic salaries, pending payment of all their pension benefits.
They stated that despite representation from them that they were entitled to be paid their housing and utility allowances, ZAF had gone ahead and stopped payment of the same, and had even threatened to recover the housing and utility allowances paid to them since their respective retirements.
The petitioners pray that the Court declares that a circular issued by ZAF stopping the payment of their housing and utility allowances is unconstitutional.
They are further seeking for an order that ZAF should pay them their housing and utility allowances, including withheld salary arrears until their pension benefits were paid in full.