Sangoma sick note valid: Court

By Drum Digital
19 October 2012

A woman who was "badly tormented by her ancestors" had to be reinstated in her post, even if she took a month's leave without her employer's permission, the Labour Appeal Court has ruled.

Three judges from the Labour Appeals Court delivered their verdict, saying the judgment was "something new", Beeld reported.

Johannah Mmelodi, who had already worked for the Kievitskroon Country Estate for eight years, attended in her own free time a course to become a traditional healer.

After completing the course, she asked for a month's unpaid leave to attend another course, to become a sangoma.

Her employers turned down her request, and she attended the course regardless, but not before dropping off a sick note from a traditional healer at her employer's office.

The sick note stated that she was being "badly tormented by her ancestors".

After she returned to work, she was subjected to a disciplinary hearing for absenteeism and fired.

The CCMA found that Mmelodi's dismissal was unfair, and they reinstated her in her post.

The company appealed, and the Labour Appeals Court ruled in Mmelodi's favour, saying South Africa was a land of many cultures and that traditional Western culture could not be allowed to dominate the African culture of many of the country's inhabitants.

-by Sapa

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