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Former officer wins big after spat with Davids

Irreconcilable differences: Davids (above) and his former employee had major issues
The Attorney General (AG) and the Clerk of the National Assembly have lost a bid to block Petrus Tau from a compensation of P580,000 for unfair dismissal.

Tau, a former employee under Mochudi East legislator, Isaac Davids’ constituency office, was awarded the sum by an arbitrator. The AG and the Clerk then took the fight to the Industrial Court, where Judge Annah Mathiba, on Tuesday morning dismissed their challenge.

Tau was fired as the senior administration officer/researcher in the constituency office in December 2016.

He had been in the position since December 2014, until his dismissal by National Assembly clerk, Barbara Dithapo who cited the irreparable breakdown of Tau’s relationship with Davids.

Dismissing the application, Mathiba said looking at all circumstances, it was not grossly unreasonable for the arbitrator, Sam Leero, to hold the view that Dithapo ought to have given Tau a hearing prior to dismissing him.

He said the arbitrator applied the law governing the dismissal of public officers and as such his decision could not be held to be irrational.

“Accordingly the points raised by the applicants are rejected and the application is dismissed,” Mathiba said.

She said that the arbitrator was mindful to the Public Service Act (PSA), when he

arrived at the decision, which is a statutory instrument all public officers, including the Clerk of the National Assembly should comply with.

“As such his decision could not be termed grossly unreasonable to the extent that it could be labelled irrational,” Mathiba said.

Attorney, Boineelo Mosweu of the AG's chambers had previously argued that the termination of Tau’s contract was in terms of the employment contract which stipulated that he be paid a month’s salary in lieu of notice. Mosweu also argued that the arbitrator failed to apply relevant provisions in dealing with the matter because it was only when one’s contract was terminated for misconduct that a disciplinary hearing was necessary. However, Tau’s attorney, Nametso Makepe, argued that the arbitrator applied his mind to the terms of the contract in a rational manner. He argued that General Order 220.1 indicated that Tau’s employment’s contract placed an obligation on the Clerk to allow representations before terminating. He submitted that section 23 of the Employment Act prohibited termination on arbitrary grounds.




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