MBABANE: Muzikayise Dube, the Managing Director of the Eswatini National Industrial Development Company(ENDIC) allegedly insulted and constructively dismissed a senior officer who was allegedly raped.
A constructive dismissal in Employment Law occurs when an employee resigns as a result of the employer creating a hostile working environment, since the resignation was not truly voluntary, it is then regarded as a termination.
A bundle of documents obtained by this Swaziland News investigation unit substantiate how the traumatised officer was hauled before a disciplinary hearing and ordered to produce evidence proving that she was raped, this was after she had absented herself from duty for more than three(3) days while receiving treatment.
According to the documents, the Managing Director of the Government parastatal allegedly halted and or temporarily reversed his ‘decision’ to fire the alleged rape victim after receiving a letter from TR Maseko Attorneys who warned the company against hauling the officer into a disciplinary hearing at the time when she was traumatised.
“Client was physically and emotionally violated in a manner that is inconsistent with Section 18 of the Constitution and instead of providing support to her you are causing more strain by laying charges against her. It is unfortunate that your action comes at a time when the world and our own Kingdom is commemorating the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence to stop violence against women and girls”, read the letter dated 03 December 2018 from the officer’s lawyers.
Reached for comments, human rights lawyer Sibusiso Nhlabatsi said he was aware of the matter but referred comments to lawyer Thulani Maseko whom he said was directly involved in dealing with it.
"I am aware of the matter you are asking me about but as far as I recall, it was handled by TR and I don't have details please contact Thulani for a comment," said the lawyer.
Efforts to reach human rights lawyer Thulani Maseko who was representing the victim proved unsuccessful at the time of compiling this report as his phone rang unanswered.
An independent investigation by this Swaziland News uncovered that the officer fell asleep while in her house after taking depression medication, forgetting to lock the door, criminals allegedly broke into her house and raped her during the night. Medical documents suggest that she later went to hospital the following day and doctors recommended that she must take days off from work to recover from the traumatic experience.
On or around 01 November 2018, Nontobeko Dlamini, the Human Capital Officer allegedly wrote to both the then Chief Finance Officer(CFO) Wandile Ntjalintjali and the Managing Director warning them against continuing with the disciplinary action against the victim but suggested that she must be provided with counselling services, insiders told this publication that Ntjalintjali was allegedly instructed by the MD to facilitate disciplinary action against the rape victim.
“My office therefore recommends that the officer be allowed to go for counselling and be supported on what she requires until she is stable”,read a report by Human Capital Officer Nontobeko Dlamini addressed to the Managing Director and the then Chief Finance Officer.
But an independent investigation conducted by this publication uncovered that the recommendation by the Human Capital Officer came after the Managing Director instructed her to work on the matter as part of the disciplinary process against the officer.
Documents in our possession suggest that on or around 31st October 2018, Muzikayise Dube, the ENDIC Managing Director held a meeting with Wandile Ntjalintjali, the then Chief Finance Officer(CFO) and Nontobeko Dlamini, the Human Capital Officer where the MD allegedly indicated that he was not convinced that the officer was raped, he then issued an order that the matter be verified with the police, the name of the victim cannot be revealed for ethical reasons.
Reached for comments, Muzikayise Dube, the ENDIC Managing Director confirmed knowledge of the matter, however, he said the officer was no longer working for the Government parastatal company.
“I am aware of the matter but that officer resigned” ,he said.
But a resignation letter dated 29th April 2021 written by the victim and addressed to the Managing Director suggests that the senior officer, after being raped, was subjected to emotional abuse by the MD, she subsequently took a decision to resign from the company.
“The MD would call me into meetings and I would attend thinking it’s a genuine meeting, only for the meeting to turn into a tongue lashing, belittling me in front of all the staff in that meeting”, read the resignation letter by the senior officer.
Eswatini, a tiny Kingdom situated in Southern Africa faces escalating cases of Gender Based Violence(GBV), despite the vigorous efforts by women rights organisations, the justice system and the Government seem to be staggering in prioritising such cases and declaring violence against women a national disaster.
A questionnaire was sent to Government Spokesperson Sabelo Dlamini where he was asked to clarify whether Government was considering declaring the escalating cases of Gender Based Violence(GBV)including the harassment of women in the workplaces a national scourge, however, he had not responded at the time of compiling this report.
Reached for comments, Nonhlanhla Dlamini, the Executive Director of the Swaziland Action Group Against Abuse(SWAGAA) said as women rights organisations, they were shocked that a rape victim was allegedly treated in this manner by the Government company instead of providing support adding that such cases were rife in the various companies.
"As women rights organisations we are shocked that a rape victim was treated in this manner by the Managing Director, the company was supposed to give her support. We would like to invite the victim to come to our offices for counselling services and other support because we understand the pain she is currently going through. The dangerous part in this matter is that the victim might suffer more depression and subsequently commit suicide if she does not receive urgent support" said the SWAGAA Director.
ENDIC Managing Director Muzikayise Dube forced a rape victim to resign