Charlene, this is indeed a very unpleasant and unfortunate position in which you find yourself at this time.
The issue of retrenchment is always a difficult one. The decision to retrench an individual is the prerogative of the organisation and they are entitled to make this decision based on specific operational reasons. BUT, it must however be subject to proper negotiation and discussion with the affected employees. The fact that you were employed and then retrenched four days after taking up your position does smack of some very poor planning and communication on the part of the employer. This may even, on the basis of the facts that you have presented, constitute an unfair labour practice as the correct processes and procedures may not have been followed.
This negotiation process is fundamental to the issues surrounding retrenchment and should be used to review and discuss the possibilities of retraining, redeployment, alternative employment, etc.
The issue relating to the severance package is also an important one. The provisions of Section 196 of the Labour Relations Act, 1995 state that “an employer must pay an employee who dismissed for reasons based on the employer's operational requirements severance pay equal to at least one week's remuneration for each completed year of continuous service with that employer.” In your case, you are being offered two week’s salary which, if the conduct of the employer is found not to be unfair, would be viewed as generous under the circumstances.
This is a situation which may merit further investigation, as one would need to examine all the facts and also obtain further information from you. You may well wish, under the circumstances, to consult with a labour lawyer who will be able to provide you with further insights and advice on this matter. But, you do need to weigh up all the options in this matter before taking any further action.
I am certain that there might well be other questions that you have in the light of the above – please do feel free to submit another question to the website.
Good luck to you – I trust that this matter will be satisfactorily resolved very soon!