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The United National Transport Union (UNTU) has welcomed a Labour Court judgment ordering the reinstatement of a Gautrain station manager who was fired after an altercation with commuters.

The court has ordered Gautrain operator Bombela to reinstate Clifford Morake with immediate effect and pay him R191‚354.52.

“UNTU welcomes this judgment as a step in the right direction. Our members working for Bombela and the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) are confronted daily by commuters who have no respect for them or regard for their lives. They are shouted at‚ spat on and told that they will be burned alive‚” said the union’s general secretary Steve Harris.

According to Harris‚ Morake was a Gautrain station manager in Midrand. He was fired in 2012 after an altercation with a female commuter and her boyfriend.

He was called to assist with the “difficult” female customer‚ whose boyfriend started hurling insults at Morake.

“They yelled at him‚ saying Morake was ‘another black manager!’[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip][and] continued the verbal abuse and pointed fingers at him. During the tirade reference was made to Morake’s mother’s private parts and he was accused of incompetency‚” Harris said.

“For too long‚ there has there been a tendency of the management of Bombela and Prasa to put the commuters first‚ irrespective of the conduct of the commuter‚ ignoring their legal obligation towards their employees to provide a safe working environment.”

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