The Organising Secretary of the Government Manual Workers Union, Johnson Motswhwarakgole, says that he learnt with shock that a Gaborone woman, Pondo Dikgomo, had been dismissed from work as a sales marketing personnel at the newly formed Duma Radio station just because she was pregnant.
“I honestly did not expect this to have happened at all. Not in the 21st century,” he said.
When Motswhwarakgole first heard about the case, he said he thought that it was just a joke but that all that changed when he met Dikgomo. Even more shocking, he said, was the fact that, amongst those involved in the sacking of the woman, was Mogoditshane Member of Parliament, Patrick Masimolole, who is the Managing Director of the Radio Station.
“One would have expected that Masimolole being a legislator would have known better about the labour laws of the country and sided with the lady but I am informed that he did not and that he was actually agitating for the lady’s dismissal from work,”
He explained that employment laws on pregnancy in the country are that a woman who is on maternity leave should be given 6 weeks leave before delivery and another six weeks after delivery and that during this time she gets paid 25 percent of her salary.
The government, he said, is human enough in this regard in that it pays 100 percent.
Relating the story, Dikgomo said that she was shocked at what had happened to her because she did not hide the fact that she was pregnant when she was first interviewed but that the station manager, Moreri Gabakgore, told her that there was nothing wrong with her being pregnant.
As a result of that assurance, she says that she was shocked when she was called by the same Gabakgore and first asked if she thought she would manage to carry out her duties since she was pregnant and that when she answered in the affirmative she was told that the Board did not think so and was dismissed from work.
Dikgomo said she was told this by Gabakgore in the presence of Masimolole whom, she said, she did not expect to let something like this happen.
She said the shocking news of her dismissal landed her in hospital but added that she is now well and ready to fight it out.
Asked to comment on this, Gabakgore asked to be given time to consult on the issue but never returned the call afterwards. Both Masimolole and Gabakgore are former employees of the nation’s Radio Botswana.