The Monitor :: I was fired – Mphathi
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Last Updated
Friday 24 November 2017, 17:23 pm.
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I was fired – Mphathi

FRANCISTOWN: One of the country’s respected mining chief executive officers, Montwedi Mphathi has acknowledged that he was unceremoniously fired from his position as Botswana Ash managing director last week.
By Ryder Gabathuse Mon 13 Nov 2017, 18:00 pm (GMT +2)
The Monitor :: I was fired – Mphathi








Worse, senior as he was, he was simply fired without a hearing. Quizzed this week if it was all over with him and his former employer, Mphathi was quick to explain that he is not a giver on anything. “So, I can’t give up really. I have to fight for my rights.”

He is contemplating taking legal action that he will deem appropriate after thorough consultations. He is particularly incensed by the fact that, his former South African-based board chairperson Ian Forbes, chose to ignore the basic rule of offering him an opportunity to be heard and then simply deciding to “fire me just like that”.

Forbes could have sent a chill down the spines of many, according to Mphathi by simply trampling upon the local labour laws, which dictate that a person accused of any wrongdoing should be offered the right to be heard. “I was told I was being fired for insubordination as the board chairperson, Ian Forbes insisted that I should have not fired Victoria Lekoma, Botash corporate affairs manager,” declared Mphathi who instead indicated that he had only suspended Lekoma for insubordination.

Instead of firing Lekoma, Mphathi’s main offence was that he chose to suspend Lekoma and consult the Forbes-led board about his decision. He wondered why the case of insubordination was not allowed to stand against Lekoma and instead the board chose to fire him so that the case falls flat.

“If someone was not impartial to listen to me, I would have been given a fair hearing. So, conditions have simply been polluted by outsiders,” he said referring to Forbes and others from South Africa.

Mphathi was supposed to resume duties this week Tuesday, but was instead summoned back home from his holiday in Dubai to come and answer for his ‘misdeeds’ last week.

But, to his surprise, the board members who were there, Garekwe Mojaphoko and Forbes broke the bad news that Botash had decided to part ways with him, “just like that.”

He said the extra-ordinary board meeting held at the Grand Palm was without agenda as he was forced to excuse himself and only the meeting to culminate with his sacking. The company group internal auditor also attended the meeting from South Africa.

Mpathi’s offences as read out to him by Forbes bordered

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on insubordination, the company’s valuation report ahead of a plan to buy out Botswana government’s 50% shareholding, which was too high because as Botash MD, Mphathi did not participate and he was also accused of having had not a lot of input in the 2018 company budget.

Responding to some of the accusations levelled against his administration like the disappearance of the P8 million, he blamed the company creditors’ clerks of theft as they chose to line their pockets with company funds.

He said before they were fired, it was discovered that instead of settling creditors’ accounts, the creditors’ clerks credited their personal accounts with company funds.

Mphathi indicated that the reason why he fired the systems accountant was that the officer was directly responsible for the accounts and with such a hefty loss, there was no way such an action could not be taken. With Mphathi’s administration accused of corruption, nepotism and sheer disregard for ethics, he was dismissed amidst the accusations levelled against him.

“What happened is that I disciplined people and instead they turned screws against me. I am accused to have recruited an old-time friend, Zimbabwean Keenlord Dube to head the engineering department,” explained Mphathi who insisted that Dube was never implicated in corruption in anyway and was the right man for the job.

He acceded to have known Dube from the BCL Mine as someone who could turn around the engineering situation at Botash, an assignment he (Dube) performed with aplomb. Mphathi had previously fired a white engineer for non-performance. Even a finance manager was fired before for poor performance at Botash.

He also explained the controversial hiring of one Tshepo Sedimo as a marketing manager despite that he was not qualified for the job. “That’s a super star Motswana who performed exceptionally well. Now, they queried him that he was not qualified. Look, when someone supports you as an MD and you are satisfied with the delivery, they start crying foul.”

Forbes was this week unwilling to talk about Mphathi’s case, safe to say: “We run a business and employ a lot of people from different backgrounds. Like any business, we deal with a lot of people at the workplace and all the workplace issues are basically internal and not for public consumption.”

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