By Staff Reporter
THE High Court has dismissed funeral services provider, Doves’ US$4 million lawsuit against Zimplats for cancelling a tender for the provision of funeral cover for its 2 000 workers in 2013.
Doves approached the High Court accusing the platinum giant of breaching their contract even though nothing had been signed by the parties towards the deal.
Doves demanded U$4 195 543 damages after refusing to accept Zimplats’ offer to compensate it for the withdrawal on three months’ notice.
Following a protracted legal battle, High Court judge Justice Amy Tsanga took a swipe at Doves accusing it of attempting to arm-twist Zimplats into agreeing to a deal.
The judge said it was unlawful for the funeral insurance company to try and arm-twist Zimplats into a funeral cover deal when the company clearly exhibited a lack of interest.
“It would be tantamount to dragging an unwilling partner to the altar or worse still, condoning the operation of business gangster style, through arm-twisting where a party to insist on specific performance for a contract that was never perfected or claim damages where the tender documents specifically provided to the contrary,” said the judge.
“More significantly, where the very award of the tender had been gotten through non-disclosure of key information, this would hardly be in keeping the ethics of promoting sound ethical business, ” she said.
The judge said in fact, the inclusion in the tender documents that there would be no claim for damages in the event of withdrawal of a tender, addressed the current situation.
“As for the plaintiff nonetheless had performed in terms of the unsigned contract, signifying general acceptance of the terms and conditions in the draft document, thus did not dispense with the need for a properly executed contract.
The judge said Doves should have accepted the offer by Zimplats instead of trying to reap millions from the mining company.
“That offer to compensate had been the decent thing to do given that strictly speaking in terms of the tender documents, there was no obligation to give anything and the contract had not been signed,” she said.
“It was Doves who refused the offer opting instead to try and squeeze specific performance or alternatively to real millions from Zimplats.
“Doves must bear the consequences of its choices. As the saying goes, ‘a feather in hand is better than a bird in the air’. That offer to compensate on the basis of three months’ notice was without prejudice and it was rejected.
Addington Chinake represented Zimplats while Advocate Sylvester Hashiti represented Doves.