The Selebi Phikwe Economic Diversification Unit (SPEDU) and its former Human Resource and Administrative Executive, Gabriel Modise, are currently embroiled in a bitter legal tussle before the Francistown Industrial court.
Modise has dragged SPEDU before court for unfair dismissal after he was sacked on April 4 2017. In his founding affidavit, he states that sometime in September 2016, The Patriot on Sunday published several reports concerning SPEDU, which stories involved Human Resource Department headed by Sidney Mmopele whom was Modise’s immediate supervisor then. “The reports led to Mmopele being temporarily suspended as he was accused of being the one who leaked confidential company information to the press. In November 2016, after Mmopele’s suspension was lifted, he called me to his office and asked me if I personally knew the author of the stories, Phillimon Mmeso,” Modise stated. He confirmed knowing Mmeso as they had attended the same school in the past, a revelation which infuriated Mmopele as he suspected that Modise was the one who leaked the information to the media.
Since the altercation, Modise says the relationship between him and his supervisor became very sour. “Mmopele further accused me of trying to ruin his career by leaking information to the media as I was eyeing his managerial position,”he added. From then on Modise said his supervisor even refused to authorize his overtime claims, even vowing to get rid of him.
“I then reported the matter to the Director, Jasenga Uezesa who advised me to monitor the situation first and see how things turn out and that if the situation did not improve that I should go back to them as persons in charge of the affairs of the company,” he indicated. Modise said at the beginning of 2017, he was charged with using an official vehicle, Ford Everest without authorization and he was hauled before a disciplinary committee. Modise is adamant that the charge was fabricated by his boss, Mmopele as he wanted to get rid of him. He mentioned that during the disciplinary hearing, he requested that evidence of CCTV cameras could be produced to find out who drove the vehicle on that fateful day but Mmopele declined such proposal.
Modise said he even suggested that Security Guards who were on duty on 3 January 2017 could be called to testify but again his request was shot down. According to Modise, he was also denied the opportunity to call his independent witnesses who were not employees of SPEDU. The organization later engaged private investigators and the disciplinary committee later found Modise guilty of using the official motor vehicle without authorization and he was ultimately dismissed from work. The applicant further notes that SPEDU officers then prevented him to launch his appeal until the 7 days period in which he was supposed to have filed his appeal elapsed. Modise then decided to approach the industrial court to seek redress as he strongly beliefs that he was unfairly dismissed and he is yet to be paid his terminal benefits. The case has been delayed due to numerous adjournments.