Vision 2016 coordinator goes to court

Dr Kruger
Dr Kruger

The Gaborone Industrial Court will tomorrow hear a case in which the coordinator of Vision 2016 Council is challenging her suspension from work and is seeking reinstatement with immediate effect.

Charity Kruger, the coordinator, was suspended by board chairman, Martin Makgatlhe last month. 

She has filed an urgent application to nullify the suspension.

Through a recording of a November 6, 2015 board meeting, Mmegi has established that Kruger has not been charged with any criminal offence or misconduct, but Makgatlhe suspended her arguing that his grounds were to protect the reputation of the institution. 

In the board meeting announcing Kruger’s suspension, Makgatlhe reportedly said that the coordinator was being investigated by state security agencies for possible offences she allegedly committed outside her work.

Seemingly, the suspension has divided the Vision 2016 Council board, as a majority of the members did not buy into the chairman’s statement and enquired why they were not consulted.

Although the Vision Council legal advisor had earlier counselled its client to withdraw the suspension, the chairman did not heed the advise and went ahead with the move. A letter from the legal advisor, Mboki Chilisa, advised that the chairman had exceeded his authority.

In her court papers, the coordinator said that Makgatlhe acted unlawfully by suspending her without the Vision Council resolution, and that the chairman has no power to suspend her without the resolution.

The legal advisor's letter read: “We therefore advise that the chairperson exceeded his authority in purporting to suspend the coordinator.  We furthermore advise that the coordinator was within her right to refuse to comply with the instruction to stop performing her duties.  We advise that the letter of suspension should immediately be withdrawn”.

However, Makgatlhe maintains that the coordinator had misconducted herself.

Makgatlhe wrote, “It has since come to my attention that you have misconducted yourself and exhibited behaviour that is incompatible with the terms and conditions of your employment as the Vision 2016 coordinator.  I have taken a decision that disciplinary proceedings should be instituted against you”.

Makgatlhe and Kruger had a falling out after the two started exchanging e-mails on an issue involving Native Impressions, which is alleged to be owing Vision 2016 over P2 million.

The issue between Vision 2016 and Native Impressions dates back to November last year.   Native Impressions was supposed to provide consultancy services in respect of publicising and advertising the Vision Council activities.

The Vision Council accuses Native Impressions of having breached the agreement by failing to carry out some of the deliverables agreed between the parties as set out in the tender submission notwithstanding that they were paid for such deliverables. 

The Vision Council, in a board resolution early this year, instructed Kruger to pursue all available channels, including legal action, to recover the money from Native Impressions. 

However, after a board resolution the chairman opposed the route of taking legal action against Native Impressions opting instead to negotiate with the company.

The director of Native Impressions, Mpho Balopi has since denied any wrongdoing saying he has no dispute in his contract with Botswana Institute for Development Policy Analysis (BIDPA). 

BIDPA was the motherbody under which the Vision 2016 Council fell before it went autonomous.

Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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