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Court sets aside ‘suspended dismissal’ of NLC employee guilty of misconduct

Labour court ordered the employee be dismissed with immediate effect

Ernest Mabuza Journalist
The labour court has set aside a 'suspended dismissal' sanction against a National Lotteries Commission employee who was found guilty of gross dishonesty. Stock photo.
The labour court has set aside a 'suspended dismissal' sanction against a National Lotteries Commission employee who was found guilty of gross dishonesty. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/EVGENYI LASTOCHKIN

A civilised legal system should have no room for any dishonest employee to continue to reap the benefits of any institution funded by the taxpayer.  

The labour court made this finding last week when it set aside a sanction of a “suspended dismissal” imposed by the chair of a disciplinary inquiry against a National Lotteries Commission employee who had been found guilty of gross misconduct. 

Boitumelo Rachel Mafonjo, who was the NLC's client liaison officer in Mahikeng, was in 2019 found guilty of two charges of gross dishonesty and two charges of breach of contractual obligation by the chairperson of the internal inquiry. 

One of the charges of gross dishonesty alleged that from March to August 2018, Mafonjo misused the employer’s property for personal and/or another person’s gain by extracting confidential beneficiary information from the grant management systems.

The chairperson's sanction was that Mafonjo was “dismissed from her employment with the NLC, which sanction is suspended for a period of 10 years on condition she is not found guilty of any act of misconduct similar to the ones which she was charged and found guilty of”. 

The NLC was not happy with the sanction and sought to review it before the labour court. 

The court on Friday agreed with the NLC and set aside the ruling on sanction made on December 13 2019 and substituted it with an order that Mafonjo be dismissed with immediate effect. 

Acting judge Smanga Sethene said had elementary legal research been conducted, it would have dawned on the chairperson that any misconduct peppered with gross dishonesty ought to have seen Mafonjo removed from the employ of the commission. 

Sethene said the chairperson, clothed with the persona of the employer, ought to have known the NLC’s disciplinary policy categorically stated that the only prescribed sanction for an employee found guilty of dishonesty as the first offence was dismissal.  

“The said policy makes no provision in any shape or form for a suspended dismissal as pronounced by the chairperson. The same sanction of dismissal is also prescribed for disclosure or passing on of an employer’s confidential information.” 

Sethene said in employment law, the employer must treat its employees fairly and consistently. 

The judge said consistency denoted that for like offences, employees must not be treated differently.  

“In this case, if the chairperson’s ruling on sanction were to stand, the applicant’s workplace may spell doom and have dire consequences.” 

He said the chairperson’s ruling on sanction was bound to open the flood gates of anarchy. 

“This court is compelled to close flood gates of anarchy for the rule of law is a precious priceless currency to be preserved in every ventricle fibre of this beloved country.” 

TimesLIVE


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