It was a sweet victory for former Operations Manager at Botswana University of Maryland, Sweedie Kgosidiile, when the Francistown Industrial Court Judge Christian Diwanga last week Tuesday ordered that her dismissal from work was both procedurally and substantively unfair and as such wrongful.
As a result of the unfair dismissal, the court ruled that Kgosidiile’s former employer pay her the Pula equivalent of US$ 60 000 (634,890 Botswanan Pula) being ten months’ wages as compensation.
According to court records, Kgosidiile was dismissed on 28th February 2018 and her salary at the time of termination was US$ 6,000.00 per month, which is equivalent to BWP 64,308.68. She was employed as Operations Manager based in Gaborone and her employment was for a fixed period of time, commencing on the 1st of October 2015 and was to lapse on the 30th September 2018 with a possibility of renewal.
The court agreed with Kgosidiile’s attorney, Kgosietsile Ngakaagae that her dismissal was unlawful in that there was no disciplinary hearing before the decision to dismiss her was taken. University of Maryland’s Country Director Dr Ndwapi Ndwapi and Chief Operations Manager Peter Kironyo failed to convince the court that their decision to dismiss Kgosidiile for ‘‘insubordination, failure to adhere to annual performance and bringing the institution into disrepute’’ was lawful and procedural.
The court heard that Kgosidiile’s job description was changed without her input which made her job difficult. Kgosidiile noted that the charge made against her for making disparaging remarks against Dr Ndwapi emanated from her raising concerns over flawed processes within the organisation. Kgosidiile told the court of an incident where the organisation’s vehicle was damaged and a purchase order for its repairs was brought to her. She said she was told by the driver that the vehicle had hit a pavement to which she asked for the incident report but the driver reported that Dr Ndwapi stated that no incident report was necessary.
She also confirmed to the court that she had at some point raised an issue with a payment for the purchase of car which was priced as new in the quotation yet the purchase order showed it as a demo vehicle. Kgosidiile said as she was accountable for procurement, it was right for her to complain about such issues.
The Botswana branch of the University of Maryland School of Medicine Health Initiative is funded by the US government under the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR/Emergency Plan), a United States governmental initiative to address the global HIV/AIDS epidemic and help save the lives of those suffering from the disease, primarily in Africa.