the matter between:
KA-MHLABA SCHOOL Respondent
P SHILUBANE for
MATSEBULA & MR MOKGOKONG Assessors
on 3rd June, 1989)
this matter, the Applicant is claiming from the Respondent School the
following for his unfair termination -
for 6 months 5 640-00
Fund 6 408-64
in liew of leave 1 620-00
Notice Pay 760-00
Allowance 1 900-00
Applicant was employed by the Waterford School as a Book-keeper and
his duties were clearly spelt out in his letter of appointment dated
16/2/1981 (Ex.F). One of his main duties was the preparation of the
Bank Reconciliation Statement which he was expected to have ready at
the end of each month.
served the School for a little over 6 years and then resigned his
post by his letter dated 11/6/1987 (Ex. A) He stated that he took
this step because of the unreasonable conduct of Mr Matis, the Bursar
his immediate superior. Mr Matis strongly denied this.
the point in issue is whether the applicant resigned of his own
accord or whether was he forced to do so on account of the
circumstances created by Mr Matis. In order to arrive at a just
decision, it is
for me to go into the circumstances which led to his resignation.
March, 1986, Mr Matis took over as Bursar of the School from one Mr
Vriend, and the applicant worked directly under him. On 8/6/87, Mr
Matis in the course of this duties discovered that the applicant had
failed to attend to the Bank Reconciliation Statements for the months
of April and May, 1987 and he was told that they should be ready by
12/6/87. A warning was also given that failure to do so would result
in his losing his job. The applicant admitted to the non-preparation
of the statements but said that the delay in doing so were due to the
following reasons -
that the documents were not available in time
that the cheques taken at times by the Bursar to the Headmaster for
signature were not returned to him in time.
he said were results of the changes effected in the work system after
Mr Matis took over as Bursar.
fail to comprehend his argument on this point. If a new system had
been in operation since March 1986 and if the applicant could have
worked out the monthly statements without complaint up to March,
1987, why was it that he failed to prepare the two statements for
April and May 1987? As such, it was not the new system that delayed
the preparation of the statements. I therefore reject his
argument on this point.
Applicant also took up the point that he was given only 3 days to
complete the statements which period according to him was
unreasonable. I do not see anything unreasonable in this. He was
expected to have the statements ready by the end of each month. Had
he done his job, the period of time which he says unreasonable would
not have risen at all.
the applicant's resignation, Mr Matis took upon himself the
preparation of the Statements for the said two months, in the course
of which he discovered that a sum of E8 646.53 had not been banked
(Ex.K). This shortage was later confirmed by the School Auditors (Ex.
J). The Applicant however attributed this shortage to the new office
is no evidence that he ever complained about it in any form to the
Bursar. It was also not the first occasion where the applicant was
involved in a shortage of this nature. In April, 1984 he was accused
of taking a
of E262/50 without permission from the school cash float thereby
causing a shortage for which he was severely warned (Ex.G). He was
also warned on subsequent occasions for neglect of work and general
behaviour (Ex. H and I).
appears to me that the shortage of E.8646/53 was the creation of the
applicant himself. I am of the view that the non-preparation of the
statements for the months of April and May 1987 could have been due
to the fact that he may have found it impossible to balance the
accounts on account of the shortage.
now turn to the crucial question whether the applicant resigned of
his own accord or was forced to do so by Mr Matis.
Applicant has submitted that, had Mr Matis not threatened him with
dismissal, he would not have tendred his resignation. Mr Matis on the
other hand maintained that he only threatened him with dismissal if
he failed to hand over the said statements by 12/6/87. In my view for
an employee's resignation to constitute dismissal, the conduct of the
employer must be one that should amount to a fundamental breach of
Mr Matis discovered that the conciliation statements for April and
May 1987 were not ready, he instructed the Applicant who was
responsible for their preparation, to have them ready by 12th June
1987. He also, in the course of his duty mentioned that if he failed
to do so, he could lose his job.
it is difficult to see how the issue of this ultimatum could
constitute a breach of contract. In my view the instruction issued by
Mr Matis to the Applicant with warning of dismissal, was one he was
lawfully entitled to issue. If the Applicant chose to ignore it and
resign, this certainly would not constitute dismissal.
into consideration all the facts in this case, it seems to me that
the applicant resigned when he found -
he would not be able to balance the accounts of the school, due to
the shortage of E8 646.54
he might be called upon to explain this shortage.
I hold that Applicant resigned of his own accord. In the
circumstances 1 dismiss his application.
decision is entered as an award of this Court. My Assessors agree
with my decision.