News : MaNtuli 'a boss from hell'

First Lady Nompumelelo Ntuli-Zuma stands accused of being a worker's worst nightmare.

President Jacob Zuma's second wife is alleged to have flouted labour laws and mistreated, abused and exploited at least three domestic workers, while living at her plush Morningside home in Durban, paid for by local businessman Erwin Ullbricht.

In an investigation after MaNtuli was ordered by the CCMA to pay R16 000 to Sbongile Ngobese for an unfair dismissal, The Mercury has established that two other domestic workers have similar tales of abuse.


Although MaNtuli agreed to pay the minimum wage due to domestic workers, she did not always pay their monthly salaries in full.
She is also alleged not to have contributed to the Unemployment Insurance Fund, which is illegal.

In an exclusive interview, an angry Ngobese lifted the lid on Ntuli-Zuma's alleged conduct.

The Mercury also interviewed two other women, who worked for MaNtuli from January to July 2009 and August 2009 to February 2010. Both asked that their names not be published, and echoed Ngobese's allegations.

Attempts to get comment from Ntuli-Zuma and the president, including questions faxed to the presidency and the spousal office, were met with silence. One official promised to respond after The Mercury argued that her alleged abuse of workers and flouting labour laws could not be dismissed as a private matter.

MaNtuli ignored messages on her cellphone, while attempts to get comment from Khulubuse Zuma, who has previously spoken for her, were unsuccessful.

Ngobese, who is unemployed and has two children, said she worked for MaNtuli from August 2009 until her dismissal on February 26 this year. The CCMA ruled on June 14 that Ntuli-Zuma should pay Ngobese R16 000 as she had been dismissed "without any reason and procedure".

MaNtuli was given two weeks to pay the amount, but failed to do so.

There have been numerous attempts by Ngobese's lawyer to e-mail the CCMA ruling to MaNtuli's personal assistant, plus smses, faxes and attempts to reach the First Lady by phone. Ntuli-Zuma has moved out of the Morningside home and attempts to trace her at Khulubuse Zuma's home in Umhlanga, have proved unsuccessful.

Ngobese disclosed that she and one of the domestic workers interviewed by The Mercury had successfully sought the labour department's intervention because they were owed R3 000 and R4 000 in unpaid wages respectively.

One of Zuma's "sons", whom she did not know, had finally paid the money. Only Ngobese decided to pursue the matter of unfair dismal in the CCMA.

Ngobese said MaNtuli had begged her to quit her job at St Augustine's Hospital and to work as her domestic worker, with the promise of a better office job later because of her "connections".
She trusted MaNtuli because they had been friends. MaNtuli had agreed to pay her R2 500 a month, but only paid R2 000.

Ngobese described her working relationship as "unbearable and abusive" and claimed MaNtuli treated her like "an animal".

"She did not behave like a civilised person; she had no respect for me or other workers. She used to call us b****s and witches when she addressed us and would tell us we were mere peasants who did not matter..."

Ngobese, who said she suffered from a kidney ailment, had difficulty in getting time off.

Ngobese said she had once returned from a funeral, to find the first lady refusing to eat food she prepared, or touch her clean clothes, because MaNtuli had an irrational belief that she was practising witchcraft at the instigation of the president's new wife.
The other domestic worker described her work with MaNtuli was a "bad experience".

"She would make us run around behind her like little girls. She insulted us, calling us witches and other strong words."

The woman described how she would be expected to rewash clothes after Ngobese had done so, because Ntuli-Zuma believed she was trying to bewitch her.

The first lady also made unreasonable demands, like asking her to bring her children from the Morningside home to the Hilton Hotel around 11.30pm after she returned from an international trip.

Another former worker said she was fired after leaving the house without permission to attend a funeral. The woman said MaNtuli still owed her R6 000 in wages.

Ngobese and the two workers praised the president, saying that when he was around he treated them with respect. Source IOL

Rating: 9.00 (2 votes) - Rate this News -

Tags: MaNtuli   CCMA  


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