Labour court dismisses Sun City Gupta 'racism' case

2017-10-26 21:28
Sun City (iStock)

Sun City (iStock)

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Johannesburg – The Labour Court has found that the dismissal of former Sun City employees, Sam Botlhale, Clifford Ramontle and Koki Khojane, was substantively fair.

The court delivered judgment in the matter, which relates to complaints made by employees about conduct at a Gupta family wedding in 2013, on October 19.

On May 11, 2013, the union members went on strike, irrespective of a court order preventing them from doing so, because they believed that Sun City did not deal with alleged racist conduct at the Gupta wedding at the resort.

They believed that their complaints had fallen on deaf ears. The wedding took place between April 30 and May 3.

The South African Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union took the case to court on behalf of 14 members, claiming that they were unfairly dismissed.

"The issues relating to racism raised were that the Gupta family only wanted white drivers and waitrons, that the Guptas were allowed to bring their own vehicles into the respondent’s (Sun City) premises and that a female employee of the spa concessionaire was sexually harassed,” the judgment read.

According to the judgment, Sir Richard Hawkins, Sun City's operations executive, explained to the court that the spa was run by an independent concessionaire and the employee reported the incident to the concessionaire and she was afforded the required assistance and support.

Racism 

A guest involved in the sexual harassment of a spa employee was removed from the premises immediately, the court heard.

With respect to the drivers, Hawkins told the court: "Sun City does not tolerate racism."

He disputed that all the drivers were white.

The other allegations of racism that were raised in the case related to claims that black staff members were removed from the kitchen and that the Guptas brought their own chefs to Sun City.

Hawkins disputed this and testified that all the staff that were scheduled to work, were at work and that none were displaced.

He explained that the Guptas required their own specialist chefs for the wedding because they wanted unique cuisine from a specific region in India to be prepared.

Cuisine 

Sun City did not have chefs available to prepare the required cuisine.

Sun City kitchen staff worked with chefs brought by the Guptas and Hawkins denied that any of the kitchen staff had been removed from the kitchen.

According to Hawkins’ testimony, issues raised during a meeting regarding the drivers, kitchen staff and sexual harassment were addressed.

Botlahale, Ramontle and Khojane told the court, although they participated in an unprotected strike, they did not deserve to be dismissed and felt that their dismissal was unfair.

Before the trial commenced, 10 members entered into a settlement agreement while Clifford Mohlakane, Rhina Mokua, Emeldah Dipale, Oageng Magano and Sam Botlhale continued with the trial.

However, the Labour Court dismissed the case with costs.

Read more on:    sun city  |  guptas

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