Teacher fired for hitting pupils and insulting female colleague fails to get job back
A Gauteng teacher who was sacked for assaulting two pupils with a pipe, referring to them in derogatory terms, and swearing at a female colleague has had his application for reinstatement dismissed by the Education Labour Relations Council.
Council commissioner Evah Ngobeni dismissed Fanyana Mabasa's application after his sacking in 2018 for misconduct the previous year.
But she ordered the Gauteng education department to pay Mabasa a month's salary of R22,136,50 after ruling his dismissal was procedurally unfair.
In a summary of evidence submitted to the council, Mabasa's colleague at Kutloanong Primary School in Vosloorus, Portia Mthimkhulu, said he told her to “voetsek nondidwa (bitch)” when she questioned him about returning late from collecting his payslip.
“The word 'voetsek' is uttered when one is annoyed with another person. She speaks Sotho but the word 'nondidwa' implies 'sifebe', which is derogatory,” said Ngobeni.
“None of the teachers were around but security personnel may have heard the utterance. The applicant’s tone was harsh, and his facial expression confirmed that he meant what he was saying.
“The word can also not be used on a prostitute because it is heavy and derogatory. It belittles a person when so interpreted. One may not even say 'voetsek' to a child as it personifies a dog. The English version of bitch is lighter compared to the meaning attributed to the word in an African language or context.”
Both pupils' accounts of the corporal punishment inflicted on them by Mabasa were also included in the summary.
A grade 11 boy, who was in grade 7 at the time, said he and a friend were hit with a pipe after Mabasa accused them of causing a disturbance in his class.
“(Mabasa) tended to call them dogs and also referred to 'testicles', 'pubic hair' and 'penis'. He would utter these words during class,” Ngobeni said.
Mabasa conceded he had insulted Mthimkhulu and pleaded guilty at the disciplinary hearing, saying he uttered the words in anger. He also admitted hitting the boys with the pipe to discipline them.
Ngobeni found that Mabasa's dismissal was substantively fair.
“I am alive to the fact that [he] has over 20 years of service with a clean record, but there was no indication that [he] has at any given time apologised to the people to whom he caused pain and suffering,” she said.