Jan 27, 2022

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

Education bosses told to change tune after punishing teacher for singing in church choir

A teacher who received a final written warning for singing in a church choir had her warning withdrawn after an appeal.

Education Labor Relations Council mediator Mathews Ramotshela said the education department of Limpopo had “failed miserably”. Evidence supporting the claim that Maria Mnisi accepted a second job with permission.

The dispute centered on a payment of R15,000 made by the choir of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Mnisi for singing at an event organized by the Provincial Government.

Deputy Director of Education Department for Behavior Management, Mbengeni Netshifhefhe, testified that the Auditor-General found that Mnisi was “engaged in paid work that is beyond her scope of employment”.

The department asked Mnisi, also the choir secretary, to respond to the allegation and found that she had not applied for a permit.

But Mnisi said choir singers had not received any money, themselves when the choir was paid to perform.

Considering their evidence, Ramotshela said: “Mostly they sing over weekends. Sometimes the choir is paid for performances. The money will be transferred directly to the choir’s bank account.

“No part of such funds will ever be paid to individual members as choristers are not remunerated for performing in the choir.”

Ramotshela commented the Ministry of Education’s decision to sanction Mnisi, saying the teacher did not receive a “red cent” for her participation in the choir.

“It cannot be said with conviction that she is involved in someone else’s work, he said. “In my considered view, she did not need a permit to participate in church and/or choir activities.

“One wonders how the employer, given the lack of evidence pointing to wrongdoing , deemed it necessary to issue a final warning to the employee for this type of misconduct as punishment.”

Ramotshela declared the last written warning of June 2021 to be “null and void”.