PRETORIA– South African Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Senzeni Zokwana has taken note of a ruling by the Pretoria High Court declaring that he lacks authority to suspend the department’s Director-General, Michael Mlengana, with immediate effect.
Mlengana resumed duties on Monday after the court delivered the ruling last Friday. He had been placed on precautionary suspension by Zokwana on July 9, 2017, pending investigations into allegations of gross misconduct. On July 25, 2017, he was served with a provisional charge sheet and informed that a Departmental Disciplinary Enquiry would be held to no avail.
He approached the High Court again in November 2017 and the matter was struck off the urgent court roll for lack of urgency. Last Friday, the High Court in Pretoria finalised the matter and declared that Zokwana lacked the authority to suspend Mlengana and that his suspension was unlawful, invalid and of no force and effect.
The court also declared that the precautionary suspension of Mlengana be set aside with immediate effect, and the Minister is to allow him to resume his duties with immediate effect. Zokwana was also asked to show cause on affidavit on or before May 15, 2018, as to why he should not, in his personal capacity, be made to pay the costs of the application from his own pocket.
The department said in a statement Tuesday that Zokwana was studying the judgment and consulting with the Public Service and Administration Minister and the President to determine what is in the best interest of the department. The Minister is entitled if he so wishes to appeal the judgment. That decision can only be made in a few days’ time, the department said.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK