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'I am disappointed by your article'

I have read with disappointment a Mmegi article titled "Suspended Masame allegedly defrauded BOPEU", which was published on August 31, 2019 edition.

I have decided to make the following facts clear;

I prepared a painstaking research paper which was accepted as a conference paper. I then travelled and actually attended the World Congress of the International Labour and Employment Relations Association (ILERA) held on 23 – 27 July 2018 in Seoul, South Korea.

I travelled and attended alongside a staff member of BOPEU’s labour college (ILES). I have evidence to attest to my travel, lodging and attendance of the said conference, which show that I attended all but two out of the five-day conference. I had to cut short my attendance on the last days due to a family emergency that required my personal attention as a mother and wife.

It has been a normal practice in the union that, if a union member or official is faced with an emergency situation, he or she is permitted to return to attend to the situation; never has such a predicament been used to tarnish a member’s name.

For instance, the suspended President, Masego Mogwera, failed to attend three engagements due to what she termed ‘family issues’ after confirming attendance. One of these was the College retreat held in August 2018.

In another incident she flew back from Namibia to attend to matters regarding her church after only a day. She also was supposed to attend a strategy workshop in Durban but she never did. In all these trips, she was given full perdiem and entertainment allowance which she never returned. No eyebrows were raised.

The information contained in Martin Gabobake’s affidavit, though made under oath,

is false, defamatory and malicious. He swore to a false statement at appeal stage, when he did not provide the same at the High Court.

The suspended leadership has lost its sense of shame and is not afraid to swear to lies. It is unfortunate that Gabobake opted to risk professional ethics for union political expediency. Notwithstanding, appropriate legal action will be taken and consequences will follow.

The arrogance and desperation of the suspended leadership has reached astronomical levels, as shown by the endless and illegal weekly spending spree on propaganda adverts, further wasting the Union’s meagre resources, in addition to the legal costs.

As for Mmegi, I am disappointed that the newspaper could fail such a basic tenet of ethical journalism – to hear both sides of the story. Mmegi could still have quoted our court papers, if at all they had to avoid interviewing me for the above facts. I am aware that business is low and Mmegi could be desperate for the advertising mileage it is getting through the illegal spending by Mogwera group. While Mmegi could continue to ‘make hay while the sun shines’, it should not forget that life is a wheel that keeps on turning.

My attorneys will write formally to demand a retraction of the story by Mmegi.

Lastly, I implore BOPEU members to remain vigilant and resolute against corruption and mismanagement of their Union’s resources, in spite of the intimidation and lies by Mogwera and company.

Thank you for publishing this clarification.

*Ogaufi Masame is BOPEU deputy president – Gender and Human Rights

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