SA: Dismissed Zim lecturers refuse request to withdraw their court case

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By GroundUp

SOUTH AFRICA: Four immigrant lecturers dismissed from Port Elizabeth TVET College have refused the college’s request that they withdraw their court case.

On Wednesday the Labour Court in Gqeberha postponed the case to 14 March to give the lecturers’ lawyer time to study the documents.

The four, three from Zimbabwe and one from Rwanda, have been lecturing in engineering for several years. The College management wrote letters on 12 January informing them that their services would be terminated on 1 February.

They approached the Labour Court which granted a provisional interdict earlier this month setting aside the termination of their employment. The court ordered the college to appear before it on 22 February to present reasons why the interdict should not be made final.

The lecturers, who are members of the National Union of Public Service and Allied Workers (NUPSAW), told Judge Ncumisa Nongogo that their union had finally secured a lawyer this morning.

Lawyers for the college presented documents to the judge asking the lecturers to withdraw the case. They said the lecturers had already been asked to return to work; there was “no pending dispute between the parties” and the matter was resolved.

But NUPSAW shop steward Sangolinye Ngqungwana said they wanted the judge to issue an order. Ngqungwana said the college “should not have started this matter in the first place”.

“Now they want us to withdraw. Our fear is that if we withdraw … and if the workers go back to work, they could easily dismiss them again. So we want something in writing coming from the judge to confirm that they must follow the proper procedure.”