Sangoma sick note valid, says court

2012-10-19 14:42

Johannesburg - 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.

  • moriri.mosweu - 2012-10-19 14:48

    What do you expect when the judge is a sangoma himself.. - 2012-10-19 18:45

      whoo whoo, my ancestors are talking to me, telling me that this lot is an actual load of BS, opening up a can of worms here... so your ancestors carry more favour than mine, please man FOAD

      sani.ghana.3 - 2012-10-19 20:01

      I dont believe in these ancestor thing, people die and they go were they must go but they dont live here, you believe these things and make your own trouble

      om.nom.nom.01 - 2012-10-19 20:29

      She was a.w.o.l. for a month without permission to attend a mumbo-jumbo course, then she provided what is clearly a false excuse (fraud)... & she has to be reinstated? Wtf, I mean really, W.T.F. How are you supposed to run a business let alone turn a profit under these "Tokoloshe" labour rules??????????

      warren.vanwyk.3 - 2012-10-19 20:40

      So can religious people now take sick notes from their respective religious leaders stating something along the lines of: "Johnny can't be at work for the foreseeable future as he is stressed out because his god has forsaken him"??? Whaahaahaahaahaahaahaahaahaa. Wait, wait, Whaahaahaahaahaa!!!

      grant.coffey.5 - 2012-10-19 20:46

      //"Johnny can't be at work for the foreseeable future as he is stressed out because his god has forsaken him"??? // Plagued by the holy ghost.

      squeegee.pilot - 2012-10-19 21:44

      I had to check the date first... No. it's not April Fool's Day, but it certainly in Fools in Charge Day.

      Witsie Studdy - 2013-08-08 04:47

      Jews are exempt from work during pesach, Muslim are allowed breaks to pray and Christian pilgrims can take leave from work but African people get fired for demanding the same respect?

  • mark.a.fysh - 2012-10-19 14:50

    That sort of nonsence judgement needs to go to a proper court for review.

      lsfreak - 2012-10-19 15:24

      Sweet more sick days...Yippie...Sorry more days to get paid for nothing... MayBe Zooms is right :/

      savage10000 - 2012-10-19 19:16

      Bud, the LAC is that court! G@d help us.

      mark.a.fysh - 2012-10-19 20:14

      I see Labour courts as an extention of political policy. Surely there is recourse to proper civil Court? Must be, surely!

      om.nom.nom.01 - 2012-10-19 21:40

      Rustic... you have a better chance to find a banana in this country than to find justice. If that murdering prosecutor got 8 years for a violent murder then why is this judgement surprising??????????

  • JohncarlosBiza - 2012-10-19 14:54

    Receiving a calling to be a sangoma, however true it is, is just like any other psychological / psychiatric challenge for the victim.

  • trevor.roberts.148 - 2012-10-19 14:54

    That is an absolute joke!!!.

  • cindy.naude.79 - 2012-10-19 14:57

    OMG! I am speechless!

  • psdeacon - 2012-10-19 15:19

    This is not very good journalism. The case is not as simple as reflected here and is actually very interesting from an HR perspective. The outcome should be seen in context. Furthermore this judgment was made on 26 July I don't know why it is being reported three months later. KROON COUNTRY

      king.rasta.583 - 2012-10-20 06:07

      yes my man bad journalism.

  • Andrèa Olivier - 2012-10-19 15:20


  • obadia.segwape - 2012-10-19 15:24

    its about time i am consulting monday with my GEMS MEDICAL AID VIVA ANC VIVA

      om.nom.nom.01 - 2012-10-19 21:13

      Viva votela iANC. It's the only way forward to get an income without actually working, ha ha ha.

  • Paymatters - 2012-10-19 15:30

    In order to meet the requirements for a sick certificate to be valid all sangomas will have to be registered with an approved medical body! (as prescribed by the legislation the learned judge ignored). The real reason for the dismissal has nothing to do with "culture". It is for absence from work without permission, (unless uncontrolled absenteeism is also "cultural"). The reason does not really matter, the employee failed to obey the rules. Another bad judgement.....

  • hendrik.andries.5 - 2012-10-19 15:41

    My mother-in-law is tormenting me, can I take of for 1 year?

      mariah.jansentshabalala - 2012-10-19 15:52

      You should have consulted a Sangoma before you got married.... :-)

      Ongendangenda - 2012-10-22 08:09


  • mariah.jansentshabalala - 2012-10-19 15:45


  • bradchad.jensen - 2012-10-19 15:52

    Wow, power to our people!

  • shaine.griqua - 2012-10-19 15:53

    Religious leaders can also hand out sick notes for sicknesses ailments and other problems when praying for someone and get a fee,let's see if this will work and be accepted cause there is a lot of spiritual sicknesses and sicknotes

  • rory.snyman - 2012-10-19 15:54

    Can anyone recommend a good sangoma?

      mariah.jansentshabalala - 2012-10-19 15:58

      Hi rory, There is one in Mamelodi. the issue is that you must be naked to visit her............

      grant.coffey.5 - 2012-10-19 18:45

      good sangoma? that's like saying honest politician.

  • shaine.griqua - 2012-10-19 15:58


  • goodguy.buthelezi - 2012-10-19 15:59

    @Rory.snyman:- If you want the best in the business go to Mhlaboyalingana Dbn, Maritzburg Dbn, Mpondo clan or Baca clan..

  • carl.h.witte - 2012-10-19 16:01

    My ancestors tld me Zuma is a misogynistic, corrupt, rapist thief...there, what more proof do you need hawks? I expect zuma to be arrested by tomorow

      nicolene.lephuthing - 2012-10-19 17:23

      U r sick

      nicolene.lephuthing - 2012-10-19 17:23

      Get a life

      king.rasta.583 - 2012-10-20 06:11

      uyagula wena

  • mmanonose - 2012-10-19 16:01 you will see the influx of sick notes from sangomas..

      mariah.jansentshabalala - 2012-10-19 16:04

      Shu, Mkanya im doing dreads this weekend. Money to be made .....

  • zeepolar - 2012-10-19 16:05

    to black people : sangoma to white people: medium, psychic, fortune teller its all the same. and dont confuse sangomas with abathakathi/baloi (witches who use muti and kill people for muti). sangomas and nyangas and to africans wat pychics, mediums, doctors are to some europeans. lets respect each other.

      Shaun Daly - 2012-10-19 17:31

      You're right, it is all the same: a bs artist is a bs artist regardless of what the call themselves.

      grant.coffey.5 - 2012-10-19 18:37

      //lets respect each other.// You cannot compare a doctor to a sangoma, psychic, medium, hippie etc. It's not about respect it's about who is qualified to assess if a person is ill. If a person thinks they are haunted/possesed they may well have a very serious mental illness. Indulging their beliefs on what the cause might be doesn't help them one bit and in most cases makes it worse. Asking an employer to accept this reasoning pulled out of the "practitioners" behind is simply ludicrous.

      richard.bosmano - 2012-10-24 08:26

      No. Ancestors,ghosts whatever.It's nonsense,they don't exist. This defiant scum wants to be a witchdoctor,she could do it in her official leave. Every mistake she makes,warning letter.She'll be gone in 6 months,rightly so. As for your primative culture,shove it,it will go extinct,as with every other primative,backward,barbaric culture. Do your folks know you wasting their data bundle talking rubbish to adults?

  • comrade.shefu - 2012-10-19 16:07

    Will a sick note from a pentecostal spiritul healer going to be accepted.?I hope so.

  • cindy.dunn.9 - 2012-10-19 16:11

    So she asked for a month off was denied then took it anyway and handed in a sick note. Sangoma or not can any one say fraud. Eish only in SA

  • nemimabotja - 2012-10-19 16:18


  • mshiniboys - 2012-10-19 16:18

    We do not come from the same parents and we are created differently.high time we respect the norms and values of Africa...especially now that 'we are all Africans' since an African is 'anyone born in Africa' :)

      comrade.shefu - 2012-10-19 16:23

      Thats true cde mshini respect is the answer.

      grant.coffey.5 - 2012-10-19 18:47

      //respect the norms and values of Africa// Your right to enjoy your culture does not extend onto the liberties of others or the code of employment in SA. Your beliefs regarding the supernatural do not trump the diagnosis of a qualified doctor.

  • Stanley - 2012-10-19 16:19

    Jah neh

  • Karel du Toit - 2012-10-19 16:22

    There is no such thing as being tormented by ancestors. She is possessed by demons. you dont need a month to get rid of them. only faith and a statement from her. MD Rebecca Brown.

  • sello.r.molefe - 2012-10-19 16:26

    Einsh ja am deeply distuburbd by a Tikoloshe. If its true il ask for a month sick leave...

      grant.coffey.5 - 2012-10-19 18:48

      Get the sangoma to diagnose you with an eye problem. You can't see yourself going to work for 2 months.

  • nkosie.ngubane.52 - 2012-10-19 16:34

    @Leonard, How do you know that the business owner was white?

  • nkosie.ngubane.52 - 2012-10-19 16:35

    @marc, go no 1 will miss u.

  • Justin Mettew - 2012-10-19 16:49

    The floodgates might have been opened *I fear.

  • Notrax123 - 2012-10-19 16:52

    Setting a precedent? I should try this.... sangomas are for all South Africans. Except if I had to also take my case to the Labour Court, they in all probability rule that I "did not have ancestors" because I am white

      UncleCharlie Makola Ledwaba - 2012-10-19 16:56

      Forefathers are for every human being irrespective of being white or black

  • jaco.human.562 - 2012-10-19 17:01

    Welcome to the BANANA republic. I wonder why I have taken a decission to run my bussiness on my own and employ only 1 oerson - MYSELF. You canot build a futore if you depend on the labour of this country. Not all but most of them

  • Charles Frederik Robberts - 2012-10-19 17:02

    This is SICK! Investors should all pull out of this sick society!

  • gembleton1 - 2012-10-19 17:14

    Another reason why SA has such a high unemployment the labour law in this country is just f$^@!d up

  • Mardkun - 2012-10-19 17:14

    IF reported correctly, this isn't about culture; it's about integrity - something both Western AND African cultures value. She wanted time off for personal reasons, the company refused, she produced a sick note for that exact period and attended a course. It's irrelevant who signed the sick note - registered medical professional or sangoma - it demonstrates a lack of integrity. For the record: I think the company should have been more tolerant, as I've been faced with a similar predicament but supported the worker and her culture and gave her time off on full pay. Nevertheless, responding to the company's intolerance by displaying a lack of integrity isn't right either. I think the court could have been far more creative in coming up with a balanced response that supports her culture but chastises her lack if of integrity.

  • philip.buys.1 - 2012-10-19 17:16

    Easy, do not employ them at all. There are many from a western culture who will gladly do the job.

  • Paul - 2012-10-19 17:17

    Now we are moving foward as a country,

      cherri.pye.5 - 2012-10-19 18:39

      Yeah, forward to the edge of the cliff...

  • Cameron - 2012-10-19 17:37

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA looool....thats hilarious!

  • cherri.pye.5 - 2012-10-19 18:22

    Wtf! From now on I'm going to a sangoma. Why pay these "white" doctors hundreds of rand and the best they can give you is 3 days off?? Seriously, this country is an absolute joke because of the clowns running it.

  • JamesMWood - 2012-10-19 18:26

    One of my waiters came to me a few years ago \I'm not going to be at work on the weekend\ I asked why not, his response \I'm going to be sick\ true story

  • scholesss - 2012-10-19 18:26


  • - 2012-10-19 18:30

    We demand a first world output, but are only prepared to give a third world input. The race to the bottom is gaining momentum.

  • debduplessis - 2012-10-19 18:32

    what next!!! she attended a private non job related course! we all have to do these courses at our own cost and in our non company time which is either after-hours or done taken as leave.... and to give the excuse she was "tormented by her ancestors" is a lie - she was attended a self enrichment/career altering course!!!!!!!!!

  • musa.gatsheni - 2012-10-19 18:44

    angazi kuth inyanga yami Mkhönowedaka uyakwazi ukubhala na! Kuze nami azöngbhalela isick note

  • phillipmongatane - 2012-10-19 19:25

    Yes its time songomas are recognised as proffesional

      grant.coffey.5 - 2012-10-19 19:47

      Professional charlatans just like the the rest of the fakes. Psychics. Faith Healers. etc.

  • thato.seloane - 2012-10-19 19:45

    About time, western medicine isn't the only arbiter of all in Africa

      grant.coffey.5 - 2012-10-19 19:47

      //western medicine isn't the only arbiter of all in Africa// Except when it comes to actually diagnosing, treating and being of any use at all yes.

      irene.buthelezi.1 - 2012-10-19 22:19

      LOL! If you're having a heart attack who would you rather treat you? Sangoma or western doctor? I know who I'd pick.

      om.nom.nom.01 - 2012-10-19 22:39

      thati.seloane... Carlton banks from Bel-Air phoned, he wants his baby blue cardigan back.

  • Ze Don - 2012-10-19 19:54

    Fortunately workers are only entitled to 15 days sick leave in a 3 year cycle. So I hope for her part she doesn't get sick soon... she won't get any pay!

  • grant.coffey.5 - 2012-10-19 20:51 Wonder if the sangoma hooked up the dstv and that's why she was off for a month?

  • simon.shee - 2012-10-19 21:10

    No wonder the country is in such a mess

  • maggie.shai.9 - 2012-10-19 21:14

    Will my medical aid pay the sangoma? Now we understand what National Health Service will be like. What a joke!

  • tiaan.vanderberg.75 - 2012-10-19 21:49

    Burn the beloved country! if Sangomas are now equal to Qualified doctors, will they also be entitled to certify that a prisoner must get parole? Will make it much easier than it is now to get medical parole! Lets create something like cultural parole or ancestoral parole. " Mr Jackie Selebi has been granted ancestoral parol, his ancestors called in today and said he really should be going home!" I love this country!