A former AngloGold Ashanti mineworker has accused the company of illegally terminating his employment and claiming he was medically incapacitated, despite advice from doctors to the contrary.
Several medical reports compiled by a number of doctors under AngloGold Ashanti Health show that although Shasha Mohoto, 54, was diagnosed with early silicosis, he could still continue with his normal duties.
Although it is six years since the termination of his employment, the father of two is still determined to fight this battle and has taken legal advice. Mohoto, who worked as a scraper winch operator at Great Noligwa mine near Orkney, said the mining company had presented him with several “confusing” reports, including that he was dead, “rose from the dead”, became disabled and was later medically incapacitated.
A letter seen by The Citizen confirmed that on January 11, 2010, a Dr Mashupi, of AngloGold Ashanti Health, had written a memorandum to AngloGold Ashanti confirming Mohoto was “unfit for strenuous work” and could work only on the surface, for six months.
But eight days later, the employer allegedly issued a termination of service letter “on medical grounds”. The letter reads in part that “no alternative employment on the mine or at AngloGold mines could be secured for your placement on the due date”.
Another doctor, Anne Stratling, wrote to the employer that, legally, Mohoto could be allowed to continue with underground work with first-degree silicosis. Stratling wrote that physically, Mohoto “is not really disabled”.
“Indeed, he would be allowed to continue work underground at the mines legally as he was not certified second-degree silicosis … So, I feel Mr Mohoto should be fit enough to continue with some form of physical employment and cannot be labelled disabled.”
Mohoto showed The Citizen papers in which AngloGold Ashanti alleged he had died on December 21, 2009. The supposed death was disputed by a home affairs department official, Thabo Mokgola. At the time of his alleged death, his doctor had actually booked him off sick with chest pains and skin rash, he said.
Mohoto said a clerk from the human resources department “said he checked the computer and it was discovered that I am dead”. “He said he was shocked to discover that I am dead. But I told him I was booked off sick by the doctor.”
On September 16, 2002, while on duty at Great Noligwa, Mohoto’s left middle finger was amputated. However, he said he was paid only “R14 000 as they said it was a wound not an injury on duty”.
The Citizen has seen the employer’s acknowledgement that the finger was amputated. AngloGold Ashanti spokesperson Chris Nthite did not comment on why its records showed he was dead, disabled and later medically boarded, in spite of doctor’s advice to the contrary.
Nthite said: “Specific to your queries, we have conducted a thorough investigation into the matters raised and the findings indicate no wrongdoing on our part.
“However, given the legal constraints around the disclosure of private information and the confidential nature of employer-employee contractual arrangements, we’d prefer to pursue further dialogue directly with the ex-employee, whom we urge to contact us for a discussion on these issues.”