THE Women & Law in Southern Africa (WLSA) Research and Education Trust is embroiled in a wrangle after members clashed with the chairperson, Dinah Mandaza, over her
tenure as a trustee, leading to the High Court freezing the trust’s bank accounts.
Mandaza, the wife of Sunday Mirror publisher Ibbo Mandaza and a partner in law firm Muzangaza, Mandaza & Tomana, has been barred by the High Court from effecting transactions in the trust’s account.
The applicants, Elizabeth Shongwe and Theresa Moyo, sought an order that trustees Mandaza and Laura Harrison cease to withdraw money from WLSA bank accounts and that banks suspend all banking transactions and revoke the powers of Mandaza and Harrison in respect of those accounts.
In a provisional order granted in April, Justice George Smith ordered that WLSA bank accounts be frozen until new signatories were appointed to the trust board.
Shongwe and Moyo argued that Mandaza’s term of office expired in April 2001 and that she had wrongfully appointed Harrison to the post of regional co-ordinator.
In handing down judgement Justice Smith said: “In my opinion the resolution of the dispute turns on one issue. Has Mandaza’s term of office as trustee, and therefore as chairperson of the board, terminated?” He added: “One wonders why the trustees are so determined to cling to office when they themselves approved the amendment to the Trust Deed which introduced the principle that a trustee should not serve more than two consecutive terms of office.
“They have served four terms and insist on serving a fifth, even if it means that WLSA is destroyed and the good work that it has done comes to an ignominious end.”