Thursday, October 22, 2020

BOPEU boardroom brawl ends in court

Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU)’s Head of Department, Education and Capacity Building Edward Tswaipe filed an urgent application on Monday to interdict BOPEU from continuing with a planned disciplinary hearing against him.

Tswaipe who is an employee of the union has been cited for misconduct.

Court documents show that on 1st September 2016 BOPEU Secretary General Topius Marenga wrote to Tswaipe calling him to answer to allegations of serious misconduct in line with BOPEU’S terms and conditions of employment.

According to the letter, the allegations of misconduct relate to, “breach of contract of employment by disclosing confidential information to third parties without authority- it is alleged that while Tswaipe was participating in a group called “strategy Room” he made several disclosures of confidential information which came to his attention by virtue of his employment as the Head of Department.

Tswaipe is said to have disclosed to the said group decisions relating to recruitment of office personnel. He is also said to have disclosed information relating to the Union expenditure without permission.

The letter further accuses Tswaipe of bringing the leadership of the Union into disrepute. It is alleged that on the 19th August 2016, while participating in discussions in a group “Strategy Room” Tswaipe made statements which were not only false but were demeaning to the leadership of the union.

Part of statements made by Tswaipe in “Strategy Room” was to question among others the wisdom and professional integrity of the union leadership thus portraying them as incapable of dealing with the business of the Union.

On Monday Tswaipe through his lawyers ÔÇô Lekorwe Legal Consultants filed a notice of motion before the Industrial court for an order in the following terms:

“Directing that the normal rules of the court as regards service, time limits and procedure be dispensed with to the extent necessary and that his matter is urgent and deserves to be heard as such.”

Tswaipe further wants the Industrial court to interdict BOPEU from continuing with the disciplinary proceedings contemplated for the 7th September 2016 at 0900 hrs at FALCON Crest Hotel in Gaborone until such proceedings are instituted by a competent functionary body of BOPEU and in accordance with the constitution of BOPEU.

Tswaipe argues that since his case is considered to be of serious misconduct, it is the duty of the National Executive Committee to call him for hearing not BOPEU Secretary General Topius Marenga.

Section 46.2 of BOPEU constitution provides that the specified employees shall be subject to the supervision and discipline of the General Secretary, except in the case of serious misconduct which might result in suspension and or dismissal, the matter shall be referred to the NEC which shall have the powers to deal with the matter.

On Monday night the case was still awaiting to be allocated judge.

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