The Pan South African Language Board (PanSalb) is currently under the spotlight for the dismissals of over 40 employees, claiming that they were not properly employed. This happened at the time when Paul Mashatile was the Minister of Arts and Culture. Mashatile dissolved the board and appointed Mxolisi Zwane to take over as caretaker head of the organisation. Zwane employed over 40 people and PanSalb later claimed that Zwane’s appointment was illegal because the board never permitted it. With that, Zwane’s two year contract ended and he left. In December 2014, the employment contracts of the employees recruited by Zwane were nullified, leaving over 40 people without jobs.
Victor, one of those who were sacked from PanSalb, claims the new acting CEO, Advocate Zixolisile Feni, gave them letters saying they’ve been fired. According to Victor, the matter was taken to the CCMA but it turned out that it had no jurisdiction and referred the matter to the Labour Court. The attorneys there demanded R40 000, which they do not have.
Advocate Zixolisile Feni responded to Victor’s call on The Breakfast Show with 702 presenter John Robbie by saying he did not fire anyone. He went on to explain how the previous acting CEO employed 49 people which saw the organisation incur a massive debt of about R28-million. He says Zwane in his tenure changed the organogram of the organisation and increased the staff complement to 118. These positions were not budgeted for. According to Feni, 75 percent of the budget (which is R83-million) went to staff compensation and as a result there was nothing left to execute the mandate of the organisation. He says there had to be an action taken in order to save the institution.
Listen to Advocate Feni's full response to the dismissals of 44 people at PanSalb: