Gov’t sued for unlawful salary cessation
A senior teacher at a government school, Ellen Morula is taking government to task following a decision by the government to stop paying her monthly salary under controversial circumstances since July to date.
The decision she has cited through her attorneys, violated the Employment’s Act and Public Service Act. Morula is being represented by Uyapo Ndadi of Ndadi Law Firm and the respondent is government through Attorney General (AG) on behalf of Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM). The teacher, whose salary has been halted for 3 months now and counting, is employed at Madiba Senior Secondary School in Mahalapye.
The senior teacher wants the government through the employer, DPSM, to pay her all arrears salaries, benefits, including pension contributions and medical aid subscriptions immediately and forthwith. According to court papers seen by Weekend Post, she also said the government should pay 10 percent per annum as interest on the outstanding salaries and benefits from the date they fell due. The court documents indicate that the dispute matter started in 2014 when Morula arranged and requested to swap working stations (self requested transfers) with other colleagues but fell ill along the way and wrote to cancel the request.
She narrated that she was then advised to notify those who were party to the requested transfer which she did, but was shocked later when she was given instruction to go to Swaneng Senior Secondary School despite having cancelled the transfer request.
However she then conceded to move to Swaneng with the advice of the Ministry of Education officials, with the condition that she would later move to Shashe River Senior Secondary School in Tonota, where, owing to her ill health, will be closer to the cardiology clinic in Francistown.
When she got to Shashe, she said in court papers, she was told by the school head that they do not need a Biology teacher and was ordered to go back to Madiba which she did. Morula continued: “surprisingly, and after a long passage of time, on the 24th May 2017, I received a letter written by the Director alleging that I have refused to go on transfer and that I should show cause why a disciplinary action should not be taken against me.”
She said that she then responded in which the essence of her response was that “I went to Swaneng again after receiving the show cause letter and I was informed that there is no accommodation for me, and when I went back after 2 weeks I was told that I can only be housed at Palapye.” According to the senior teacher, she made it clear in that letter that given her health condition; travelling 80km every day would be detrimental to her.
However, after that, the next communication she later received was in the form of a letter from the Director indicating something to the effect that: “the following changes with effect from 4th July 2017 have been made on your assignment: assignment status changed from active assignment to suspended assignment.” The letter further highlighted that “reason for the change: failure to resume duty following voluntary transfer.” The Madiba Senior School teacher pointed out that she could not interpret what the letter meant and consequently went further to seek legal advice.
She further emphasised that to her shock and dismay “following the letter, my salary, medical aid contributions, and pensions were stopped by the DPSM”. In the meantime Morula pointed out that she continued to discharge her functions as a teacher as she continued to be allocated classes at Madiba by the school management. “On the 5th September 2017, I received a letter dated 28 August 2017 inviting me to a disciplinary hearing on the 14th September 2017 at Madiba at 10am. On the said day and time, I appeared at the said place for the hearing, I found no one, I waited until about lunch time, still with no joy.”
She explained that she then approached the head teacher at Madiba, to check if there is an update on the status of the disciplinary hearing and “the head teacher was also in the dark”. Morula said in the said papers before court: “I am advised by my attorney, which advise I accept as true, that the employer in terms of Public Service Act can only stop payment as a punishment following a disciplinary hearing as per section 40 of the Public Service Act.”
She further stressed that no disciplinary hearing has ever taken place against her, prior to the termination of payment of her salary and benefit. “I am further advised the DPSM has a legal duty to pay me monthly salaries and failure to do so is in violation of the employment Act. My attorneys will deal with this point in argument,” she submitted. As a result, her attorney Ndadi also stated in court papers that the client is gravely suffering financial prejudice and embarrassment, and any further delay will invariably worsen her situation. Morula will know her fate as soon as the case takes course in court, as expected, soon.
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Malawi appeals for help over Cyclone Freddy at PAP
As of yesterday evening, the death toll from the Cyclone in Malawi had risen from the initially reported 190 to 225 in a short period of time, over 20 000 people have been displaced, and the worst of fears are yet to come as the fatalities continue to mount. This was reported by a Malawi Member of Parliament attending the Pan African Parliament session in Midrand, South Africa, Hon Steven Mikiya.
Mikiya was giving a statement on behalf of Malawi as the ongoing Pan African Parliament in South Africa.
Mikiya said the Cyclone has wreaked the most havoc in our countryâ€™s Southern Region. â€śThe Southern Region, has been hardest hit with widespread heavy rains and strong winds. This caused a rapid rise in water levels and subsequent flooding. Meanwhile, power supply has been disrupted, roads blocked off and rendered impassable and mudslides have also been widely reported,â€ť he said.
He made a special appeal to the PAP:Â â€śWhere I come from, there is a parable which I would like to share with you which says, â€śmzako weniweni umamudziwa panthawi ya mavuto.â€ť Simply put, a friend in need is a friend indeed or put loosely, a person who helps at a difficult time is a friend you can rely on.â€ť
Mikiya continued: â€śYes! Misfortune has knocked on our door and left in its wake a trail of death and destruction that may take years to fully recover from. However, amidst these difficulties, I have every reason to believe that sometimes when you are in a dark place and think you have been buried, you have actually been planted. My belief, Mr. President, arises out of my faith in this gathering and out of the conviction that it is not coincidental that Cyclone Freddy hit Malawi and Mozambique while the delegations of both countries are here.â€ť
According to Mikiya, the level of destruction, the loss of life, property and the decimation of the entire fabric of established communities has been unprecedented. He noted that all this, is coming at a time when Malawi was starting to show signs of recovery from the deadly COVID-19 pandemic that also came hard on the heels of Cyclone Ana and Cyclone Gombe that left a similar trail of devastation and destruction in Malawi and neighbouring countries.
As of Sunday, this week, from the 12th of March, Malawi and Mozambique have been facing the devastating effects of Cyclone Freddy that made a landfall over Mozambique on Saturday the 11th and reached Malawi by Sunday the 12th of March.
The Malawi legislator said he has absolute faith in the Pan African Parliament, which he described as â€śa league of nations brought together by a shared ancestry, history, identity as well as our beloved continent which we inhabitâ€ť.
Meanwhile, Malawi President, Lazarus Chakwera, has declared a State of Disaster in the affected areas effectively appealing for local and international support for the affected families.
Mikiya appealed to the Pan African Parliament drawing â€śpositiveâ€ť inspiration from Europe which rallied around Turkey after the destructive earthquakes to bring the much-needed relief and humanitarian aid to the people of Turkey.
He said Africa should demonstrate to the world that the African Union and its Organs are not mere talk shows, but effective institutions which stand up when it matters most.
â€śAlone, it may take us a lifetime to fully recover, but together, in the Pan-Africanist spirit of Ubuntu, our lives and livelihoods will return to a semblance of normality in record time. This is the time to live by our operative mantra, â€śOne Africa, One Voice.â€ť Mikiya concluded.