FRANCISTOWN: Justice Galesite Baruti of Francistown Industrial Court has reserved a judgment in a case which former Gabz FM morning show Presenter, Reginald Richardson is demanding over P500 000 compensation for un-procedural dismissal from work.
Baruti reserved the judgment for October 6th and ordered the applicant to file and serve the court with final written submission before August 25th while the respondents have to file before 5th September. Tendai Mandikate from Manyepedza Attorneys represents Gabz FM while Richardson is represented by Kennedy Piet from Collins Chilisa and Consultants.
The former popular Gabz FM morning show anchor and his producer Keikantse Shumba were both dismissed from work last year November for allegations of misconduct. One of the allegations levelled against the duo was broadcasting misleading and falsified information against the breach of established broadcasting principles despite previous warning. Richardson is demanding over a half a million compensation for unfair dismissal.
Giving evidence last week before the court, Richardson demanded compensation for the 37 months remaining in his contract of five years. He said when his employers terminated his contract last year he was earning P15 000 monthly and his contract was left with 37 months to elapse therefore his Former employer has to pay him the salaries of this remaining months which amount to P555 000. Richardson argued that his dismissal was unprocedural as he was never called for disciplinary hearing prior to the termination of the contract. “What is surprising is that despite allegations of misconduct no charges were laid against me. I was suspended over allegations of misconduct but surprisingly upon completion of the suspension when I returned to work I learnt that it had been extended indefinitely,” Richardson submitted.
Richardson said Gabz FM dismissed him from work because of external pressure especially from the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP). “Since 2011 there has been consistent pressure on my employer to get rid of me. The Station Manager Lesego Komanyane used to tell me that there was consistent pressure from some BDP leadership who felt the morning show was always against them, therefore the only solution was to get rid of me. But he claimed that he dismissed their suggestion telling them that he cannot fire someone who has not violated any radio principles,” added the Former Gabz FM morning show Presenter.
In his cross –examination Gabz FM Attorney Mandikate said he does not object the 37 months compensation but dismissed suggestions that Richardson is struggling to find another job as his dismissal was widely publicized. “There is no how Richardson can claim that his reputation has been dented because his dismissal letters were confidential therefore no one knows the details,” said Mandikate.