Alex Mampu and his former colleague, Sibusiso Baleni, are fighting an endless battle with the Gauteng Education Department.
Employed by the department in 2001 and dismissed a few months later, they have now received a summons instructing them to pay back the salaries they received after they had been dismissed.
Mampu said that their dismissal wasn't fair because it had been done verbally and without prior notice.
According to a letter sent to him by the department, the salary he had received between January and March 2002 "was an administrative error".
The department is demanding just more than R5000 from him.
"There was no formal retrenchment letter. Everything was done verbally, which is against the law as far as I know. Where am I going to get the money from?" asked Mampu.
He said he had sent numerous letters to the department, but to no avail.
Instead he has been receiving summonses and threats that he would be blacklisted. Mampu relies on the twice-a-month income he receives when he does stock taking on a part-time basis for a supermarket chain.
Sibusiso Baleni said he did not get a retrenchment letter either.
"I was told by the department to get a retrenchment letter from the school where I had taught, but they could not produce it. I left the matter there," said Baleni.
But the school's principal, Floyd Malinga, was adamant that Baleni and Mampu were warned about their pending retrenchment.
"It was unfortunate that we had to let them go," said Malinga.
"I did give them retrenchment letters as far as I remember, and the matter is now being handled by the Department [of Education]."
Lorraine Molepo, spokesman for the Human Rights Commission, said: "They can go to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration [CCMA] on the grounds of unfair dismissal."
Attorney Kenneth Coster, a labour law practitioner, also advised that Baleni and Mampu should go to the CCMA.
"They can also go to the labour court. It could just be that the Department of Education did not follow the proper procedure when they dismissed these two employees," said Coster.