Employee breaks chains of injustice

Kabelo Dipholo

Courageous employee’s fight for dignity ends in High Court triumph

In a landmark legal battle, Gaborone High Court Judge Godfrey Radijeng has ruled that the Selebi Phikwe Town Council (SPTC) must pay what is owed to its employee, Ntsemane Gaopelo, a dedicated worker living with a disability who is set to retire on July 13, 2024.

Gaopelo, who has tirelessly served her community despite significant challenges, claims the council owes her a staggering sum in backpay spanning 24 years.

This amount, she asserts, could reach into the seven-figure range.

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Disputing the council’s calculations of her owed back pay and leave entitlements, Gaopelo took legal action to get the justice she deserves.
According to court documents, Gaopelo has faced a litany of unfair treatment over the years, including systematic denial of promotions and unlawful demotions, leaving her stuck in the same position with the wrong salary for a grueling 17 years.

Her legal team pointed out that her initial appointment in March 2003 should have been confirmed and notified by September 2001, highlighting a glaring discrepancy in her employment records.
Adding insult to injury, a 2004 letter supposedly promoting her to Senior Administration Assistant didn’t come with the salary bump she deserved.

Her lawyers argue that the move was more of a title change than a true promotion, leaving her salary untouched and stagnant for four years, even as pay structures were revised in 2003.

In 2007, Gaopelo was redesignated as an Administrative Assistant II and later promoted to Senior Administration Assistant, yet these changes failed to correct the underlying salary discrepancies that had persisted for years.

Judge Radijeng’s ruling now orders the SPTC to re-evaluate Gaopelo’s entitlements in her presence, along with legal representatives from the Public Prosecutions office, ensuring transparency in the calculation process.

“I simply seek clarity on how their figures were derived, figures that fall short of my expectations,” Gaopelo expressed, her voice tinged with relief and determination. “As a person living with a disability, I’ve dedicated myself to serving this country. I seek not special treatment, but fair remuneration upon my retirement.”

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