Human settlements manager suspended for verbally abusing pregnant staff in KZN
The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Human Settlements has suspended a senior department employee for allegedly harassing and verbally abusing a pregnant junior employee.
This follows a recording clip that went viral on social media where the employee is heard insulting a pregnant woman who wanted clarity on her maternity leave.
The clip has left many people shocked as the senior manager can be heard calling the pregnant woman stupid and a disgrace.
It is believed that the junior employee had approached the senior manager to enquire about her maternity leave.
The senior manager can be heard insulting the woman, using vulgar language, and calling her derogatory names.
All you know is to gossip, you don’t even know English. You are now busy asking me about what the policy says regarding pregnant women and maternity leave, why don’t you read the document yourself? If I was in that office, I would have slapped you by now, you hear me? You are a rubbish child. You are stupid. Why didn’t you speak to me when I was in the office instead of phoning me? You are stupid and have the reasoning of a person who stays in a shack.
In the 13-minute clip, the pregnant woman can be heard apologizing, however, the manager continues to insult her, telling her that she is a disgrace who is ruining her office.
The manager told her that while she is on maternity leave, she must look for another job as she did not know how she would be able to work with her going forward.
You will always be level 4 and you got that by luck. You are just an empty vessel. You’re a young rotten child who fails to even reason … I don’t even know why I employed you because you’re an embarrassment.
The KZN Human Settlements and Public Works Department confirmed in a statement that it is aware of the incident. The department said the recording is from someone from the senior management service (SMS) echelon in the Public Service.
Regrettably, said the department, some of the utterances border on a potential criminal case of crimen injuria against the offending party.
The department said it maintains a zero tolerance approach to bullying and harassment in all of its offices, including the Rental Housing Tribunal.
The offending employee has … been placed on precautionary suspension with immediate effect to allow the pending disciplinary procedure to proceed unhindered. The department has referred the offended staff members for immediate counselling.
MEC for Human Settlements and Public Works, Jomo Sibiya, extended an apology to Abahlali BaseMjondolo president Sbu Zikode and the broader movement membership for the utterances by the offending party in which she referred to her victim as someone displaying the behaviour of someone residing in a shack.
The department said it is investigating the matter.
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