Union demands two eMalahleni municipal workers accused of stealing microwaves are reinstated

Union demands two eMalahleni municipal workers accused of stealing microwaves are reinstated
DISMISSED: A motion to have eMalahleni municipality corporate services director Mandla Vilane suspended was dismissed by council. PICTURE BY City Press.

The union says there was “dishonesty” in the process that sacked them.

A decision by the eMalahleni municipality to have two employees accused of stealing microwaves fired is now being challenged by a union.

The Independant Municipal Allied Workers Union (IMATU) said both Annanias Shabangu and Refilwe Sithole were “unfairly dismissed” and were demanding their reinstatement.

This week Thursday 7 February 2019 the eMalahleni municipal council sat and discussed the matter being brought by the minority union.

In a letter seen by the 013NEWS, union leaders tell municipal manager Sizwe Mayisela that the union says that the municipality’s director for corporate services Mandla Vilane and labour relations manager Michael Sithole “interfered” with the disciplinary process that led to Shabangu and Sithole being sacked in 2017.

They say Sithole didn’t reveal that he received a grievance form from labour relations officer D Makgaela in February last year.

Vilane and Sithole acted unlawfully “for their interference and amendment of disciplinary sanctions” which led to the dismissal of the workers.

“These two officials occupy very senior positions within the municipality and are expected to protect the interest of the employer by acting honestly and in good faith,” the Imatu letter directed to Mayisela and dated 25 January 2019 reads.

The workers were dismissed in April 2017 and had been accused of stealing microwave ovens.

They were allegedly caught red-handed on 1 July 2016. The items were in chalets at the eMalahleni Recreation Resort.

The charge sheet said an assistant manager was conducting a routing check. While he drove past chalet Number 24 he saw two employees getting out of the chalet.

He said he saw Sithole carrying a white microwave oven from the chalet to her white Nissan NP200 bakkie.

Sithole had said that the reason she was being seen with the microwave was because she was taking it to another work station to use it to warm food.

Mpuleg Premier oral reply

But later on investigations unearthed that the door where the microwave had allegedly been taken was forced opened, implying it was a deliberate act of stealing.

Chalet Number 25 next door was found to have also been forced open and another microwave oven, a stove, fridge, kettle and coffee table had also been taken. Cops were called to the scene and the duo was arrested.

Municipal spokesman Kingdom Mabuza said it was bizarre that Imatu was now returning to a matter that occurred two years ago.

He said a special council meeting this week Thursday dismissed Imatu’s motion to have Vilane charged.

“There is no evidence that Vilane influenced or interfered with the disciplinary process. Imatu wanted the two employees who were dismissed in 2017 to be reinstated on the basis of allegations that the decision to fire them was as a result of Vilane’s influence.

“We find it strange that Imatu wants to have people who were found stealing municipal property to be re-employed by the municipality, said Mabuza.

Imatu’s Samuel Sibambo declined to comment on the issue.

(edited by MLM)

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