EFF to pay for unfair dismissal of staffer

Maggie Klaas wins against the EFF at the CCMA.
Maggie Klaas wins against the EFF at the CCMA.

The EFF in the North West has been dealt a blow after it was ordered to pay a former junior staff member 11 months salary for unfair dismissal.

The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) this week found that Maggie Klaas' dismissal was procedurally and substantively unfair.

Klaas, who was employed as an administrator by the party and was based at the provincial legislature in Mmabatho, has won the first round in her battles with the EFF.

The EFF has been ordered to pay her 11 months salary totalling R102,300 before the end of the month.

In her testimony at the CCMA, Klaas said she was dismissed by the party for allegedly "failing to greet her line manager, party's chief whip Bungus Ntsangani".

She was also dismissed for allegedly "failing to take orders to be transferred from the party's legislature office to the provincial office".

CCMA commissioner Lenkwasi Makama ordered that given the reasons given by the party to dismiss Klaas and the length of service served as their employee, she must be compensated.

"I find that the applicant is entitled to a relief of compensation. I have taken into consideration the circumstances and manner in which the applicant was dismissed," Makama said.

Klaas also accused Ntsangani of verbal abuse and physical assault. She claimed that in November 2017, Ntsangani assaulted her and threatened to cut off her clitoris.

The fight was, apparently, over Klaas' refusal to report to work early the following day.

Klaas had at that time told him that there was no point for her to come in early to work as she did not have the office keys for offices Ntsangani wanted her to unlock.

Ntsangani wanted her to open for the parliamentary officials who were to do assets verifications at two of EFF offices.

Klaas told the Mmabatho magistrate's court and the CCMA that Ntsangani then grabbed her and pushed her against the printer. They wrestled and Ntsangani allegedly pinned her to the ground. She said she was rescued by provincial party leader Betty Diale.

Klaas opened a criminal case against Ntsangani.

According to the arbitration award, Klaas testified that internally, no steps were taken against Ntsangani after the alleged attack.

She got aggrieved and avoided greeting Ntsangani and was subsequently suspended and charged with insolence, a charge that was later withdrawn.

In April 2018, human resources manager Nomhle Ngcobo asked her to withdraw a criminal charge levelled against Ntsangani but she refused.

On September 29, she received an e-mail from the party's secretary Papiki Babuile instructing her not to report at the legislature but to report at the provincial office.

Furthermore, the e-mail stated that if she did not do so, the party would consider her to have resigned.

The award stated that Klaas had sought clarity about the instructions to be transferred but never got a response. She continued working at the legislature.

On October 17, she received a letter indicating that they accepted her resignation.

"I am relieved. This has been too much for me. I will be talking to my lawyer for the way forward," said Klaas

EFF spokesperson Jerry Matebesi said they will appeal the matter.

"We believe that we have a strong case and that another forum can arrive at a different conclusion," Matebesi said.

Judgment on Ntsangani's assault case is due in July.

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