A recent decision by the labour court has left me wondering how some pharmacies stay solvent, given the extraordinary discounts they routinely offer certain customers. The case involves pharmacist Siyabulela Zulu, who was employed by Madeira Pharmacies at the start of 2010. Six years later, after being dismissed for misconduct over such discounts, he referred an unfair dismissal dispute to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation & Arbitration (CCMA). After the arbitrator, Elizabeth Tom, found Zulu’s dismissal unfair and awarded him compensation, the company went to the labour court. There, judge Dephny Mahosi recapped the issues. She said Zulu had faced three "charges", starting with insubordination, after ignoring the MD’s instruction to "discontinue giving customers more than 10% discount" and to inform other staff members to follow suit. He had also been insolent in his refusal to comply. Finally, there was "dereliction of his duties" in that, despite being the responsible pha...

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