- Botash offers him consultancy work
- Botash won’t accommodate him at Sowa Town
- It’s a one year contract
- He will continue getting same salary
- Mphathi turns down the offer
Botash (Pty) Ltd has extended an olive branch to its expelled Managing Director Montwedi Mphathi after Minister Sadique Kebonang failed to reinstate him to his position. Ever since he was unceremoniously booted out of office at the end of October, Mphathi has been left in limbo as he watched helplessly the battle between Kebonang and Botash Board Chairman Ian Forbes. The minister had vowed to overturn the board decision and reinstate Mphathi but in the end, Forbes triumphed as the board stuck by its decision to expel Mphathi.
The Botswana Gazette has intercepted a confidential letter from Forbes offering Mphathi a job opportunity at Botash but in a different portfolio from the one he previously held. Dated 15th December 2017, the letter reads, ‘‘This letter serves to advise you that since your termination of employment with Botash on the 31st October 2017, the Board has reconsidered our position and would like to offer you an opportunity to be re-employed by Botash’’.
The letter informs Mphathi that he will fill in the position of Executive Consultant, reporting directly to the Botash Board. ‘‘You will be required to be involved in assisting the Chairman and the Board in all matters of strategy, including major capex projects and with the objective to formalize a plan which will result in the doubling of Botash’s profitability over the next 5 years,’’ Forbes wrote in the offer letter.
Mphathi’s job offer, according to Forbes, is for a 12 month fixed term to be effective from the 1st January 2018, which may be extended at the discretion of the Botash Board. Forbes’ letter also indicates that Mphathi will continue to earn the same salary he earned while he was still Managing Director. He however will not be provided accommodation in Sowa Town as he will not be required to be involved in any of the day to day operational responsibilities of Botash. ‘‘As a result, you can choose to be located elsewhere in Botswana, wherever it is most convenient for you and your family,’’ Forbes offered Mphathi. Forbes also indicated in the letter that the offer is open for Mphathi’s acceptance until the close of business on Sunday 31st December 2017. ‘‘I wish to draw your special attention to the legally privileged nature and strict confidentiality of this offer,’’Forbes ended his letter with that veiled threat aimed at keeping the offer a secret.
When asked about the offer and whether he has accepted it, Mphathi responded curtly with a ‘‘No’’. While Forbes’ offer might appear lucrative in that Mphathi gets to keep his salary now with lesser responsibilities, it could turn out to be a trap that will eventually vanquish him for good. After his dismissal, Mphathi demanded compensation running into millions of Pula as he felt his dismissal was not procedural. Labour pundits say Mphathi stands a good chance of winning his case of unfair dismissal at the Industrial Court as he was not accorded any hearing before his dismissal. The only plausible reason for the Board to now turn around and offer Mphathi a job could possibly be a plot to trap him into re-joining Botash where now the Board can legally have the power to expel him after just twelve months by not renewing his contract. Should he accept the offer, Mphathi will be forfeiting his right to take Botash to court for unfair dismissal and will now be at their mercy on whether he gets to keep his consultancy job after the expiry of the 12 months contract.