Clerk in fight for right to talk to media

Alfred Moselakgomo

A college clerk reinstated by the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) has been summoned to face a disciplinary hearing for talking to the media.

Hlobisile Maziya, 24, claimed she was dismissed unfairly and took the matter to the CCMA, where she won her case.

She further claimed she was dismissed because she refused to give in to sexual advances from the chief executive of the college in Mpumalanga.

The intern human resources clerk at the Ehlanzeni College for Further Education and Training in Nelspruit is now being accused of calling the college's chief executive, Pat Zwane, a sex pest.

Maziya was fired on Valentine's Day after allegedly refusing Zwane's proposals. Zwane has described these allegations as baseless and unfounded.

Maziya said that at the time she was dismissed, she was not warned that she was going to be fired nor had she been called to any disciplinary hearing .

She said that before firing her, Zwane accused her of incapacity and undermining college managers after a typing error.

The report was published in Sowetan and last week, a week after being reinstated, she was summoned to appear before a college disciplinary hearing for talking to the media.

Jane Duncan, executive director of the Freedom of Expression Institute in Johannesburg, said Maziya's constitutional right of freedom of expression was being violated.

"Maziya had every right to expose her boss to the media without fear if indeed he harassed her and deserved to be defended from anyone attempting to silence her," she said.

Duncan said that sometimes media exposure can be embarrassing for a person or institution, but "that is the price we pay for having a media we can rely on and trust to deliver on their responsibility".

"To call her to the disciplinary hearing flies in the face of the freedom of expression that we won through hard struggle and which we defend jealously," Duncan said.

She said her institution would provide a lawyer for Maziya without charge.