SIDC escapes lawsuit
MBABANE – The Swaziland Industrial Development Company (SIDC) has escaped a E120 000 lawsuit by a former employee.
Daniel Ntshalintshali had his case dismissed by the Industrial Court yesterday.
He was employed as a property manager on March 18, 2009 on contract basis. The contract was to lapse on September 30, 2010.
In terms of the agreement, Ntshalintshali was to be paid a performance bonus annually on the basis of the achievements against agreed targets following a performance evaluation. Such bonus was up to a maximum of E60 000. The evaluation, it was agreed, was to be carried out biannually by the employer using set performance targets.
On March 18, 2009, Ntshalintshali was advised that the assessment of his performance could not be carried out due to a number of uncontrollable circumstances. "It has been decided to pay E60 000 now with the view that the performance bonus payable for the last two years will not fall below E60 000," read part of the letter that was addressed to Ntshalintshali.
Ntshalintshali understood the statement to mean that the employer was paying his performance bonus for the first year, 2007/2008, and the bonus for the last two years would not be below E60 000 per year, when this was not the case. The former employee therefore demanded payment of E120 000 as performance bonus for the last two years which was not paid to him. Through its Chief Executive Officer, SIDC opposed the application. The company said, the payment in March 2010 was for the first two years of the three-year contract.
Industrial Court Judge Abande Dlamini held that the interpretation by Ntshalintshali was clearly wrong. "In fact, this court makes a finding that it is absurd and will accordingly be rejected as such," Dlamini held. The judge said the application was without merit and he dismissed it.
However, that was not to be the end of Ntshalintshali’s matter. The company was of the view that as the assessment of his performance had not been completed, it decided to pay E60 000 at that time, on the understanding that the bonus for the last two years would not fall below E60 000. Judge Dlamini found that there was no reason Ntshalintshali should not be paid according to the findings and outcomes of the assessment. "In fact, there is no reason why he should not be paid in accordance with what he scored after the completion of the assessment of his performance," he said. The judge further ordered that a meeting be convened by the parties, which meeting shall be under the supervision of the Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration Commission (CMAC), within 14 days of the judgment.
The purpose of the meet was to find out Ntshalintshali’s exact performance for the years 2007/2008 and 2008/2009 and including the assessment and the payment of bonus for the final year, 2009/2010.
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