Sunday, May 22, 2022

Ejected night guard complains of unfair dismissal

A dismissed night watchman who complains of being unfairly dismissed for trying to expose what he alleges as corrupt practices by top public servants at the Department of Out of School Education and Training (DOSET) revealed his take to this newspaper in a walk in interview.

Jacob Mapetla says he was dismissed unfairly in September 2010 after the DOSET buildings were broken into by criminals. Mmapetla says he was accused of misconduct by the Directors at DOSET.

He said his misconduct was because “he refused to write a report on the theft that occurred” according to the letter of dismissal signed by the then Permanent Secretary to the Minister of Education and Skills Development.

“I have taken a serious view of the way you conducted yourself and I have decided to dismiss you with immediate effect from the Public Service. This is in accordance with the Public Service Act No. 30 of 2008, Section 27 (3b) which states that “wilful disobedience of lawful or reasonable orders given by the employer is a serious misconduct,” stated the dismissal letter in part.

The theft that led to Mmapetla being expelled happened during late hours of May 19, 2010. He said contrary to what his letter of expulsion says, he made a verbal and not a written report, something he had been doing all along.

Mmapetla says to his surprised his report was not considered even though he presented it before senior officers at the department. He said the report was presented before the Assistant Director he refers to as Mr Khumo and the Principal Adult Education Officer Mrs Gobotswang.

“It is just foul play…Not written the report was just an excuse to get rid of me. I remember there were incidents I did not report to them and not even a warning was made,” said Mmapetla.

But Mmapetla says he has long been victimised by top officers, especially the then Director, for advocating toughening of security and alarming to expose corruption. Mmapetla says he was seen as a bad apple among the rest by corrupt management.

Mmapetla said while he was still an employee at DOSET every time new equipment for the department was bought by government, it was immediately stolen. He said almost all the break-ins showed they were pre-meditated, and aided by insiders. He alleges that the inside job would involve top Directors and those who man the department’s storeroom. He also says there were no arrests made after these incidents.

Mmapetla said leading to his expulsion, the directors have been threatening to fire the entire night watchman staff and “hire their own watchmen.” He said this was after the night watchmen approached the directors, demanding a meeting for toughening of lax security conditions and suspicions of corruption by top officers working with thieves.

The unemployed night watchman has been appealing to his employer to revoke the expulsion but he was turned down. He wrote letters, seen by The Telegraph, to the Ministry of Education and Skills Development asking his job back.

In a response letter from the now Permanent Secretary to the Minister of Education and Skills Development Grace Muzila, Mmapetla’s appeal was turned down.

The letter states that the dismissal stands and should not be changed.

He then asked help from the trade union, National Amalgamated Local and Central Government Parastatal Workers Union (NALCGPWU). But he said he lost patience and ended up giving up on the union as “it seemed promising, but sent him from pillar to post.”

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