Medupi: Johan Dempers summary dismissal unlawful – Solidarity

Union says project manager was dismissed for something that was not his responsibility

Solidarity warns Eskom to withdraw unfair summary dismissal

27 October 2019

On 24 October 2019 Solidarity issued a letter of demand to Eskom insisting that the power giant withdraw the unfair dismissal of Johan Dempers, a project manager at the Matimba and Medupi power stations by 29 October 2019. This comes after Dempers was dismissed on 18 October 2019 from Eskom Rotek’s service without any warning

Anton van der Bijl, head of Solidarity’s legal services, contends that after the coal conveyor belt had broken down on 12 October, leading to the recent power cuts, Mr Dempers was told to supervise repairs to the conveyor belt. As part of the emergency measures implemented while the conveyor belt was being repaired 1 500 tonnes of coal had to be trucked to the power station

According to Van der Bijl, Eskom Rotek argues that Mr Dempers failed to supply the 1 500 tonnes of coal per hour to Medupi as per their instruction and then, when he saw that the targets would not be met, he failed to report the matter to senior management. “It is shocking, to say the least. Mr Dempers was dismissed without any warning for something that was not his responsibility, and this despite the fact that he performed his duty of supervising the repairs of the conveyor belt resolutely and in an excellent way,” Van der Bijl said.

“It is unfortunate that it has become a trend that mismanaged state enterprises use their employees as pawns to try and conceal their own incompetence. In this instance we are dealing with a case where our member did far more than was expected of him, and he is now made the scapegoat for the recent power cuts,” Van der Bijl said.

Van der Bijl furthermore said that if Eskom Rotek has not withdrawn Mr Dempers’s dismissal by Tuesday 29 October Solidarity will have no choice but to take urgent legal steps. “We believe and trust that Eskom Rotek would then be taught a lesson in court,” Van der Bijl concluded.

To read Johannes Dempers Summary Dismissal, 
click here.

Letter from Eskom, Rotek Industries, to Johannes Dampers, 18 October 2019

Dear Mr. J. Dampers


lt is alleged that on the 1J1h of October 2019 you grossly neglected to perform your duties as a Project Manager of BMS in Medupi Power Station, in that you were tasked with maintaining 1500 tons of coal levels and you failed to do so. Further to that, you also failed to escalate the matter to

Snr Management when you realized that the target is not being met. This failure and omission on your part led to 3 units being taken off-load at MEDUPI Power Station.

This has broken ERi Management's trust in your capabilities to be a Project Manager. To this end, the company hereby issues you with a "Summary Dismissal" effective immediately (18 October 2019).

Should you wish to contest the termination of your services, you will be afforded 5 five working days to make re resentation as to why this dismissal should not be made permanent.

Yours sincerely,




To read the the complete letter of demand, click here.

Letter from Solidarity to Sizo Myeni in reply, 24 October 2019:

To:     Sizo Myeni

Eskom Rotek Industries (SOC) Ltd Bulk Material Services

General Manager (Acting) Date: 24 October 2019


Dear Sir,


1. I refer to the above matter, as well as the notice of summary dismissal dated 18 October 2019. This letter is addressed in my capacity as full-time shop steward and on behalf of Mr J Dempers.

2. From the onset I wish to state that this letter is not exhaustive of all issues and rights, and I accordingly reserve my rights to address other at the appropriate time and in the appropriate forum, should it become necessary to do so.

3. Firstly, the disciplinary code and procedure, the terms of which are incorporated within Mr. Dempers’s employment agreement, makes provision for pre-dismissal procedures to be exhausted before dismissal is considered. Obviously, you failed to exhaust your own policies in that, you saw it fit to summarily dismiss Mr Dempers’s before he had the opportunity to address the allegations. This is unlawful and is accordingly not accepted.

Secondly, the notice of summary dismissal indicates that Mr Dempers is afforded 5 (Five) working days to challenge his summary dismissal by way of representations. This mentioned procedure is also not allowed for in the disciplinary code and procedures, which adds to the unlawfulness of Mr Dempers’s dismissal.

5. Given that the disciplinary code and procedures addresses the pre-dismissal procedures and given that you failed to adhere to the procedure, notwithstanding a protected constitutional right of a fair procedure, you continued in following the unlawful route that you did. I therefore request that you immediately withdraw Mr Dempers’s summary dismissal.

6. If Mr Dempers’s dismissal is not withdrawn by 09H00 on Tuesday, the 29th of OCTOBER 2019, and no undertaking is given that the unlawful process will not in any way have a detrimentally effect on our member amongst other things also financially, we will be left with no alternative but to proceed with legal action against you.

7.I await your favourable reply.

Kind regards.


Thinus Jacobs

Solidarity Full Time Shop Steward 


Issued by Anton van der Bijl, Head: Solidarity Legal Services, 27 October 2019