The Madibeng municipality went to the Labour Court this month in an effort to set aside a disciplinary committee sanction of severe written warning to the suspended Director: Infrastructure and Technical Services, Mike Lelaka and replaced it with a sanction of dismissal.
Lelaka was suspended, on full pay, in March last year on charges of gross negligence, gross dishonesty, gross mismanagement, gross violation of supply chain and abuse of authority. The municipality accused him, among other charges, of bringing the municipality into disrepute and that his neglect resulted in the violent water protests, among other things. A disciplinary hearing was held from July to October last year and the chairman of the committee found that Lelaka was only guilty on charges of gross negligence and gross violation of supply chain. He was found not guilty of the other charges.
In his analysis the chairman made it clear that Lelaka was not guilty of events that was caused by the municipality’s failure to pay suppliers. The chairman sanctioned that Lelaka be issued with a severe final written warning valid for the remainder of his contract of employment with the Madibeng municipality, and to return to work on 17 December 2015. However, before he could return to work, the municipality made it clear in a letter to Lelaka that his “continued employment would be intolerable” and that “the only rational and reasonable sanction in these circumstances would be dismissal.” He was informed of the municipality’s intention to have the sanction set aside and replaced with dismissal. In the letter Lelaka was told he was not allowed back at work until the application was finalised.
According to information, Lelaka returned to work in January, but was escorted out of the building by security guards. Lelaka in turn filed an application to the Labour Court that the disciplinary sanction be executed. Both cases were heard earlier this month. The court dismissed Madibeng’s urgent application and advised Lelaka to take his case to the CCMA.