Saturday, December 3, 2022

Barclays accused of disrespecting Botswana’s labour laws

Barclays Bank Botswana and its newly appointed director Reinette Van der Merwe have come under heavy criticism from Monthe and Marumo Attorneys (incorporating Molatlhegi Associates) who are representing the bank’s Corporate and Credit Director Boitumelo Komanyane who is facing expulsion from the bank.┬á┬á ┬á

Attorney Busang Leburu says Barclays Bank is yet again engaged in what he calls unlawful activities and acts of undermining labour legislation in Botswana.

Leburu made the observation in a letter in which the law firm threatened the bank and the Managing Director with legal action should they terminate Boitumelo Komanyane’s contract of employment. This was after van der Merwe wrote a letter to Komanyane notifying her of the bank’s intention to terminate her contract.

“You will recall that less than three months back Barclays Bank had to settle a claim out of court on a termination of employment for staff carried out in similar circumstances,” states Leburu.

According to the court papers, in the meetings that Komanyane had with van der Merwe, the new director raised an issue of performance.

“You will no doubt agree that Barclays Bank has rules and processes addressing the issue of performance and all remedial steps available to the bank for a non performer. Our client denies the allegations of non performance and from the fact presented to us we have taken the view that the accusation against our client is in fact a monstrous creation of office,” said Leburu.

He said evidence before the law firm suggests that Komanyane has performed exceptionally well in the past three years and has received accolades from van der Merwe’s predecessors. Leburu said it is unknown to their client whether termination is retrenchment or is performance based.

“As you may be aware on terms of Botswana Law, it maybe a different situation in ABSA South Africa, all termination of employment… must be with cause. On the face of your letter… there is no cause for termination it seems same remains in the bosom of your van der Merwe,” said Leburu. He said this is not only criminal in terms of Botswana’s employment act but against the policies of Barclays Bank.

Leburu also stated that van der Merwe’s letter addressed to Komanyane terminating her contract seeks to bar her to approach court for redress or disclose what he called illegal documents.

“We take the view that this provisions not only undermine the rule of law but a flagrant violation of our client’s constitutional right and indeed a complete disrespect by Barclays Bank of the judgements of our courts in this issue,” said Leburu.

According to the letter van der Merwe wrote to Komanyane, she advised her “to agree not to institute any proceedings or complaints before any employer tribunal or court arising out of or in connection with your employment termination of it.”

Van der Merwe also advised Komanyane to “keep confidential the term of this letter, all correspondence and discussions and the circumstances leading to the termination of your employment and not make any public statements or comment in any media about the terms of of/and in connection with this letter…”

Attorney Kgotso Botlhole of Monthe and Marumo Attorneys (incorporating Molatlhegi Associates) this week filed an urgent application with the Industrial Court interdicting  Barclays Bank from executing its intended plans.  

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