BITC drags ex-employee to court for sexual harassment allegations
- Minister Seretse implicated in sexual harasment claims
- Our lawyers in SA are dealing with the matter – BITC CEO
Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Keletsositse Olebile says they have resolved to launch legal proceedings against one of their former employees who recently accused a former minister and the organisation’s former senior staff of sexual harassment.
“Yes, we are very much aware of the matter, but at the moment there is little to say as the matter is being handled by our legal team. What I can say is that we are taking the matter to court and our lawyers in South Africa are dealing with it. These are very serious allegations,” Olebile briefly told The Botswana Gazette yesterday (Monday).
This is after South African newspaper, Sowetan, reported that an un-named ex-employee of BITC had slapped the parastatal with a letter of demand through her lawyers Du Toit Attorneys, addressed to the board containing explosive claims of sexual harassment.
According to the paper, the allegations implicate former minister of trade Vincent Seretse and the agency’s former executive director, Maxwell Mosinyi. Seretse has since denied the allegations. In the letters in which Sowetan says to be in possession of from the lawyers, the woman was employed by BITC from 2009 until her contract was terminated in May 2016.
“During this period, she was sexually harassed by Mosinyi in that, in particular during 2014, he sent her Facebook messages and text messages containing various sexual undertones and innuendos which were unwanted, inappropriate and unbecoming of a person in his position.
Two formal grievances were lodged by [name withheld] against Mosinyi. Subsequently, it was decided that disciplinary actions be taken against Mosinyi but our client was never provided feedback of, nor was ever invited as a witness to a disciplinary hearing, and this leads us to question whether any disciplinary steps were taken at all,” reads an extract from paper.
The said letter according to Sowetan further reads thus “Our client’s suffering was further exacerbated by WhatsApp messages sent to her by the minister, indicating that he found her profile pictures distracting and that he had a confession to make that she troubled his thoughts.
This is clearly a continuation of the same conduct perpetrated by Mr Mosinyi and amount to discriminatory conduct impairing our client’s dignity,” On November 23, 2017 the attempted to make a second settlement at a meeting held in Fire and Ice hotel in Pretoria but she rejected it.
In conclusion the ex-employee’s lawyers states that BITC failed to deal at all with the sexual or racial harassment, reputational damage of their client.
A further allegation also contained in the said letter is that then deputy minister of investment, trade and industry Sadique Kebonang also discriminated against her because she was Indian. Kebonang has also rubbished these claims as not true.