Dina Pule’s former spin doctor fights return to Free State in court

2013-11-22 17:37

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Dina Pule’s former spokesperson, Wisani Ngobeni, is fighting the Department of Communications at the Labour Court to keep his job.

According to court records, Ngobeni was seconded to the department from the Free State provincial government for a year.

But now the department wants him to go back after the removal of disgraced former minister Pule. During his time at the department, he vehemently defended Pule when allegations emerged that her boyfriend had benefited from state funding. A multi-party investigating panel subsequently found her guilty of breaching the code of conduct for members of Parliament by failing to disclose her relationship with Phosane Mngqibisa. Ngobeni claims that the transfer back to the Free State would not be possible as there is no position for him there.

“Not only will I suffer irreparable harm but harm will be cause to third parties ... I do not have a house to occupy in Bloemfontein,” read his affidavit.

He also claimed that in September, director-general Rosey Sekese addressed an email to all staff in the department informing them that he had returned to the Free State and that another official had been appointed to his position.

In October, when he returned to his office, his access card had been deactivated and he had been locked out of his office.

He then decided to report this to the General Public Services Bargaining Council and the Labour Court.

The department argued that Ngobeni had no role to play there.

“The minister (Yunus Carrim) currently has a spokesperson. He was inherited from the team employed by former minister Dina Pule ... it would be an unnecessary duplication and waste of funds to appoint two people effectively doing the same job ...” read the statement by Sekese.

The department claims it has requested the department of public service and administration to absorb Ngobeni because Carrim did not want to proceed with the decision of Pule to appoint Ngobeni.

Today, the judge asked the department to reinstate Ngobeni and gave the parties two weeks to find a solution to their dispute.

This would include the department finding “suitable” alternative employment for Ngobeni.

If no solution has been reached, both parties will have to return to court to argue their case.

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