Mathibeli v Sun International of Lesotho (C of A (CIV) 20/2000)

Media Neutral Citation: 
[2001] LSHC 143
Judgment Date: 
1 January, 2001

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C of A (CIV) 20/2000

IN THE LESOTHO COURT OF APPEAL


In the matter between:


PULENG MATHIBELI APPELLANT

and

SUN INTERNATIONAL OF LESOTHO RESPONDENT


CORAM:J.H. Steyn, P G.

Friedman, JA M.

Kumleben, JA


JUDGMENT


Steyn. P


This matter comes to us by way of an appeal against a decision of the High Court. That Court (Peete J) had granted an order setting aside a finding of the Labour Court that the dismissal of the appellant from the employment of the respondent was null and void. The Labour Court had made this finding because it held that the respondent had failed to prove that the person who dismissed her was authorised to do so.


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This finding reads as follows:


"There being no evidence of delegation of power we are not (sic) the view that the purported dismissal of the applicant (appellant) by Mr. Wilson (the official who dismissed the appellant) on the 15th of January 1995 was materially flawed and as such of no force or effect in law as he had no power dismiss." (sic)


In setting aside this finding the High Court pointed to the following:


  1. The appellant had in a written statement confessed to having stolen some bags containing coins from the trays of the slot machines at casino operated by the respondent.


  1. The Labour Court had held that the evidence established her guilt on this charge.


  1. She had not challenged the authority of the chairman of the disciplinary hearing (the Mr. Wilson referred to above) to dismiss her.


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  1. A letter from the general manager of the respondent had been handed in. In this letter Mr. Wilson was appointed to chair and preside over the relevant disciplinary hearing.

  2. This letter authorised him to exercise all the necessary disciplinary powers, including dismissal. This constituted, so the High Court held, a valid delegation of authority.


In addition, the personnel manager of the Respondent stated under oath that as chairman of the meeting, Mr. Wilson had been given the power to dismiss anyone found guilty. Moreover this had been explained to all those involved in the disciplinary hearing. This evidence was never contradicted.


Before us Mr. Fosa contended that this evidence fell short of what was required and that documentary proof, other than the letter handed in at the hearing should have been produced to substantiate that the authority conferred was a valid delegation. In this regard he went so far as to suggest that the authorisation should emanate from the articles of


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association of the company concerned.


This is obviously fallacious. The uncontradicted evidence established the authority of the chairman of the disciplinary enquiry to dismiss the appellant. In the circumstances the High Court was clearly correct in finding, as it did that the evidence established that the dismissal of the appellant was lawful.


For these reasons the appeal is dismissed with costs.


J.H.Steyn

PRESIDENT


I agree:


G.Friedman

JUDGE OF APPEAL


I agree:


M. Kumleben

JUDGE OF APPEAL