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One of the gripes I sometimes hear from employers, or potential employers, is that it is "impossible to fire someone if it turns out they can’t do the job". The labour laws are perceived to be so protective of employees that workers, once hired, are all but guaranteed of a lifetime position even if they turn out to be chronically incompetent. Against this view, a recent labour court decision by judge Dephny Mahosi offers food for thought for small-scale employers reluctant to hire staff lest they be stuck with someone who can’t do the job. Exxaro FerroAlloys hired Lesiba Kekana as a receiving clerk, based on his CV and experience working in a position with that same job description. Unfortunately, Exxaro soon began receiving complaints from suppliers and its own staff, indicating he was making serious mistakes. Investigations by the company found there were indeed problems, and that Kekana was not meeting the required standard "on a number of tasks". A formal "poor work performance ...

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