One of the female members of the Economic Freedom Fighters who spoke out about their pain and frustration with the physical abuse they suffered at the hands of their male counterparts has been fired.
Maggie Klaas told City Press that her contract as administrator of the North West administration was terminated on Thursday. She believes this was because she had not dropped the case that she opened against EFF North West deputy chairperson Bunga Ntsangane.
Klaas accused Ntsangane of assaulting her and threatening to have her genitals “cut off” during an altercation in his office in November last year, where a number of witnesses, who were also part of the court proceedings, were present.
City Press first reported on the matter in August this year. Ntsangane and then Limpopo Provincial secretary Jossey Buthane had cases of abuse opened against them by women in the party.
A close friend of Klaas, who is also an EFF member, told City Press: “They [the EFF] are now playing dirty because again [the] HR manager came to threaten Maggie to withdraw the case and this time they fired her for saying no. They can see the case is close to being concluded [in November] so they want to distance themselves from the matter.”
This was not the only member of the party who faced suspension. Ousted fighter and former North West provincial researcher, Mpoletsang Montshosi, who took to social media about the incident involving Klaas, was also served with a notice of suspension.
“I went through a national disciplinary hearing following my social media post that said that the party was inconsistent on their position against gender-based violence. And I won the case. But, following that, HR charged me again claiming I had violated my suspension. But this confused me because the disciplinary meeting had exonerated me from the charges they brought before, meaning I could not have violated anything [that] I was not found guilty of. After this Ntsangane wrote to HR saying he couldn’t work with me and Maggie, but reasons cited in the letter was that I was incompatible with the EFF.”
EFF denies claims of victimisation
The North West provincial secretary who also heads up HR, Papiki Babuile, has denied Klaas’ and Montshosi’s claims.
According to Babuile, Maggie had not arrived at work at the provincial office for three weeks. Babuile said Klaas had been instructed by his office to report to the provincial office in an effort to make her work, because they “struggled in the province to get any work done by her”.
Klaas has disputed this, adding that there were officials in the office who witnessed her attendance and she also submitted the offices access control sheet from the head of security to City Press.
Maggie added that Babuile had even assigned her work last week and she did it.
When asked about this Babuile conceded that she had done work, “but not all the work”.
He told City Press the cause of her dismissal was a result of her inconsistency towards her work attendance in the last three weeks and followed intervention from the party’s national HR manager who reported the matter to the national deputy secretary-general of the party.
When asked about Monshosi’s dismissal, Babuile said that “there was an agreement in principle between his office and Monshosi to terminate their relationship …He [Montshosi] agreed that the relations had been burnt. This started after he wrote on Facebook that I was rallying people to go and support Ntsangane during his case with Maggie. From there our relationship fell apart because I read about this on Facebook and asked him why he wrote that without asking me for facts.”
Babuile added that Montshosi “was not taken to a disciplinary meeting but an inquiry. From the inquiry we noted some technicalities on our side so he didn’t win the case; we withdrew the charges. But later on our relations were not well and so we both decided to terminate the relationship … he only took us to [the] CCMA (Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration) thereafter in request that he be paid his months’ salary and the matter was before [the] CCMA.”
Montshosi has disputed these claims, and said he took the EFF to the CCMA for unfair dismissal.
City Press has a copy of his submission to the CCMA.