Workers who protested racism at Gupta wedding fail to get jobs back

14 February 2018 - 06:00 By Matthew Savides
Three workers who went on an unprotected strike following allegations of racism at the controversial 2013 Gupta wedding at Sun City have failed in their bids to get their jobs back.
Three workers who went on an unprotected strike following allegations of racism at the controversial 2013 Gupta wedding at Sun City have failed in their bids to get their jobs back.
Image: suncity.com

Three shop stewards who were fired after going on strike over allegations of racism at the Gupta family’s controversial wedding at Sun City in 2013 have lost all hopes of getting their jobs back.

Sam Botlhale‚ Clifford Ramontle and Koki Khojane went to the Labour Court after their dismissal for going on an unprotected strike. The three were among a group of workers from the South African Commercial‚ Catering and Allied Workers Union (Saccawu) who went on strike on May 11‚ 2013‚ despite being interdicted from doing so.

The strike came after the trio said they believed that Sun City had failed to deal with the alleged racist conduct at the Gupta wedding‚ which took place between April 30 and May 3‚ 2013. The union claimed the controversial family only wanted white drivers and waitrons‚ and that a female employee had been sexually harassed by a guest.

Sun City denied the claims.

Botlhale‚ Ramontle and Khojane pleaded before the Labour Court that although the strike was unprotected‚ their dismissal was undeserved because the protest was in response to unjustified conduct by Sun City.

However‚ Judge Connie Prinsloo upheld their dismissals in October last year. She said that the union should have known the consequences of breaching a court order‚ and they those who did should not expect sympathy.

The three workers lodged an appeal against the decision – but that appeal was rejected.

Prinsloo said in her judgment: “The applicants [Botlhale‚ Romontle and Khojane] raised a number of grounds for appeal and on consideration of these grounds and submissions‚ it is apparent that the applicants approached this court for leave to appeal by taking points and restating the evidence that was before Court and trying to argue the matter afresh post judgment. In applications for leave to appeal‚ what the applicants ought to do is to state what was before court‚ what the court did in error and what the court ought to have done right. The applicants’ submissions are a repetition of the evidence and arguments at trial.

“The grounds for leave to appeal as set out by the applicants have no merit and I see no reason why the Labour Appeal Court should be burdened with this appeal.”

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