The strict preventive measures employed by Debswana Diamond Company at its Completely Automated Recovery Plant (CARP) of Orapa Mines are the central part of the ongoing spy camera case before Lobatse High Court Judge, Isaac Lesetedi.
The security measures include strip searches, forbidding handshakes, hand to cover mouth when sneezing during working hours and installation of spy cameras in the toilets in the 'Red Area', which was used by 43 CARP employees.
They are now demanding P5 million each as compensation for breach of their human rights after discovering a surveillance camera in the toilets they have been using.
An artisan boilermaker in the Red Area of CARP, Galetshoge Mabiletsa (38), told the court yesterday that they never knew anything about surveillance cameras in the toilets.
Mabiletsa said he was embarrassed and disappointed that such a degrading situation can happen to him. "I even cried when I discovered this as I knew my privacy has been infringed upon," Mabiletsa said.
He told the court that even when the general manager, Sebetela Sebetela, was addressing them after the discovery of the spy cameras, he did not say anything to the effect that the company had been using the device in the toilets. "Sebetela never said anything about the spy camera in toilets prior to the discovery in 2006," Mabiletsa said.
Mabiletsa's words are the direct opposite of what defence attorney, Advocate Pretorius, put to the last witness for the plaintiff, Albert Modongo. Pretorius was of the view that management at the Orapa mines had decommissioned the use of spy cameras in the toilets in 2001.
Despite the discovery of a spy camera in the toilets, Mabiletsa told court that he continued using the facility even though he was uncomfortable.
However, Mabiletsa told the court that his colleagues did not use the toilets and they were given the green light by the management to use toilets elsewhere.
Most of the aggrieved individuals feared that their pictures, allegedly captured secretly by the company cameras, could be used for pornography.
They allege that since they did not consent to being filmed in the toilet, the act is a gross violation of their privacy. The cameras were installed at the Completely Automated Recovery Plant (CARP).
The workers from CARP filled Courtroom 4 of the Lobatse High Court to listen to arguments by their attorney, Duma Boko, and Debswana attorney, Advocate Pretorius, of South Africa who has been instructed by Collins and Newman law firm.
The court heard that the use of the surveillance cameras was stopped in 2001 by the Orapa mine management.
However, five years later, a camera was found in the toilet and the employees are now aggrieved by the discovery, hence they demand P5 million each.
Before the case was registered, it is alleged that Debswana owned up to the damaging blunder and offered to compensate the affected staff.
However, the out-of-court settlement failed as Debswana was offering less than what the employees demanded.
The case has been adjourned for continuation on February 22, 23, 24 and March 1, 2 and 3 next year.