Labour Guide Case Law: 2014-06
By Advocate Nicolene Erasmus
Moloi / Macsteel Service Centres (VRN Reef)  2 BALR 117 (MEIBC)
After being charged with sexual harassment, the applicant on 8 March 2013 in an email with “resignation” in the subject line, informed the employer that:
“Seeing that Macsteel VRN’s future is not that bright and its business taking a nose dive and that soon enough most of its employees won’t have jobs anyway, I have decided to jump ship in order to focus on steering my own little ship which I have been privately building with the little remuneration that you have been paying me for the past 8 years of service to you.
I wish to thank you for the opportunity that you have given me over the years which I have used to my advantage by empowering myself with the industry knowledge while I acted like a dom [sic] garden boy.
On Monday I’ll be coming to render my resignation formally and to claim what is legally mine in terms of pension pay-outs and outstanding remuneration.
It was nice doing business with you.
Jacob, CEO & Working Capitalist”
It was the respondent’s contention that there was no need for the applicant to issue the employer with a “formal resignation” as that is exactly what the email was – a voluntary resignation to avoid being subjected to a disciplinary hearing.
The following Monday the employee had a change of heart and decided to withdraw his resignation, a request which he was told “had to go to head office”. The applicant then claimed that he had been dismissed.
Commissioner B van Wyk had no problem finding that no dismissal had ever taken place.
“In this matter the applicant, Mr Jacob Moloi hopelessly failed to convince me that he had ever been dismissed. Quite the opposite, the applicant tendered a voluntary written resignation to Macsteel.”
And further with respect to costs:
“Mr Moloi’s unreasonable and vexatious insistence to persist with this frivolous case under the auspices of the MEIBC, well knowing that the Bargaining Council’s services are free and ultimately being funded by the SA taxpayer, necessitated in my respectful view an order of costs to mitigate Macsteel’s expenses to defend this frivolous matter.”