An advocate who claimed she was absent from work for six months because she did not know where her new office was has been fired.

A Sunday Times report says Dineo Gomba, a senior legal adviser at Gauteng's Department of Human Settlements, was last seen at work in August last year. She was on annual leave when her office in the Bank of Lisbon building in the Johannesburg CBD was gutted by fire on 4 September.

She denied going on holiday when she was meant to be working and on Friday had taken down her Facebook page, which, according to the Sunday Times, tells a different story. She said that it had given the wrong impression that she was doing well when she was not.

But though her employer fired her in her absence and claimed that stopping her salary was the only way to get her to show her face, Gomba maintains that all along she was ‘working from home’.

However, the Johannesburg Labour Court ruled in April that her dismissal was justified, a ruling she has vowed to take on appeal.

Gomba claims she has been victimised by the department and that its new offices are so unsuitable that she and many others are working from home. Human settlements spokesperson Castro Ngobese said the department had followed due process before terminating Gomba's contract.

The department showed the court WhatsApp messages sent to all employees after the fire, letting them know where their new offices would be. Officials also produced an e-mail sent to Gomba on 15 February explaining that her long absence was unacceptable and warning that a termination letter would follow.

Labour Court Judge Edwin Tlhotlhalemaje was not impressed with Gomba's urgent application, saying she had approached the court only on 27 May, more than 11 weeks after being fired.

Full Sunday Times report (subscription needed)