Friday, 30 October 2015

Dokora Ordered To Reinstate Fired Teacher

THE Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Lazarus Dokora, has been ordered to reinstate a teacher who was fired for allegedly inviting a female pupil to his bedroom where he asked her to wash dishes before offering her doughnuts.


Justice Evangelista Kabasa of the Bulawayo Labour Court ordered Dokora to compensate Future Ngwenya, formerly employed as a teacher at Sigonde Secondary School in Umguza district, for the time he went without a salary following his dismissal.

Ngwenya was fired last year for alleged misconduct when he ordered the schoolgirl to wash dishes at his house during study hours. He was relieved of his duties for allegedly contravening paragraphs 4 and 7 of the first schedule of the Public Service Regulations following a disciplinary hearing.
Dokora Ordered To Reinstate Fired Teacher
Ngwenya filed an application at the Labour Court challenging his dismissal citing Dokora as the respondent.

Justice Kabasa ruled that the disciplinary authority erred and misdirected itself in finding Ngwenya guilty of misconduct, arguing that the charge could not be sustained from the evidence given.

“It wasn’t sustainable as the pupils shared the same kitchen with teachers and so going to the teachers’ cottage was inevitable. The washing of dishes in itself can’t be regarded as improper association with minors. It’s also a norm for pupils to go to teachers’ cottages,” said the judge.

Justice Kabasa said the disciplinary authority erred by concluding that the pupil was punished without the school head’s knowledge. “No evidence was adduced from the head and that allegation was not in the charge letter nor was it canvassed in the hearing,” she said.

Justice Kabasa said the evidence which was largely extracted from the schoolgirl and two other witnesses was inconsistent and contradictory.

She said Ngwenya was wrongly convicted of misconduct by the disciplinary authority.

“In the result, the appeal be and is hereby allowed with costs. The respondent be and hereby ordered to reinstate the appellant (Ngwenya) without loss of salary or benefits from the date of the unlawful dismissal,” ruled Justice Kabasa. The judge said if the reinstatement proves untenable, Dokora is to pay damages in lieu of reinstatement. The parties are to agree on the quantum thereof.

Ngwenya, in the court papers filed through his lawyers, Munyaradzi Gwisai and Partners, said he was aggrieved by the decision of the disciplinary committee which found him guilty of acts of misconduct and subsequently discharged him from his duties without tangible evidence.

In his heads of argument, Ngwenya said there was no conclusive evidence linking him to the alleged crime. He said the disciplinary hearing had no basis in its findings, arguing that it relied on contradictory evidence from the witnesses.

The respondent, through the Civil Division of the Attorney-General’s Office, said the evidence led sufficiently proved the allegations on a balance of probabilities. The respondent’s lawyers concurred with Ngwenya’s lawyers, saying it was not in dispute that the schoolgirl’s evidence was inconsistent.
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