The Labour Court has ordered Delta Beverages to reinstate a worker who had been dismissed for stealing meat from the company. Guards arrested Sipiwe Mapuranga after she was found leaving the Delta premises with meat for which she had no gate pass.
This was after a party at her workplace where she said she had no chance to eat, and had been authorised by her supervisor to take some meat to eat as she left the premises. A disciplinary committee found her guilty of theft and imposed a dismissal penalty.
Mapuranga then appealed to the Labour Court arguing that she was wrongly charged with theft since her immediate supervisor had authorised her to take the meat.
She further argued that the company destroyed the meat, which was critical in determining her guilt or innocence.
Mapuranga submitted that the duty to prepare the gate pass lay with her supervisor, hence she could not be faulted for failure to produce one when she was arrested.
On the other hand, Delta argued that Mapuranga was correctly charged with theft since she took more than what her supervisor had authorised her to.
It also maintained that the meat was destroyed for practical purposes since it was going bad.
Labour Court president Ms Lilian Kudya noted the conflicting evidence by Mapuranga's supervisor Luckson Zimbeva concerning how much he authorised her to take.
Said Ms Kudya: "Zimbeva's suggestion that he only allowed her to take out 30 to 40 centimetre sausages clearly speaks of fabricated evidence. He would have the court believe that he measured the sausages in question in a bid to come up with their length and breadth."
She also noted conflicting statements by Delta that Mapuranga was caught with three kilogrammes and then more than 10kg.
Ms Kudya said that the evidence failed to show that Mapuranga had stolen from Delta. She then ordered Delta to reinstate Mapuranga or pay her damages for loss of employment.