Cwele on suspension

2011-05-11 00:00

SHERYL Cwele has been suspended as Hibiscus Coast Municipality director of health and community services with immediate effect.

The decision to release her from her duties on full pay was taken at a special council meeting held at council chambers in Port Shepstone yesterday.

The move follows Cwele’s conviction and 12-year sentence for drug trafficking by the high court in Pietermaritzburg.

The Hibiscus Coast councillors were locked in a two-hour meeting to determine Cwele’s fate at the municipality. Members of the public and journalists were denied access.

After the meeting the municipal manager, Sbu Mkhize, briefed journalists on two matters that had formed part of the intense discussions.

The first was Cwele’s suspension and the second was the suspension of director of protection services, Victor Chetty, who stands accused of sending SMSes with racial undertones to his staff.

“After much deliberation and consideration of a variety of issues on Cwele’s contract of employment, labour laws and the gravity of the matter at hand, the council unanimously concurred with the views of the municipal manager to suspend her with immediate effect.

“The council resolved that the internal disciplinary process must be done speedily and within one month,” he said. “This comes after she has been attending her case in Ramsgate and Pietermaritzburg courts and where she lost the case.”

Mkhize added that Cwele’s suspension is in terms of the Labour Relations Act and that she is therefore suspended with full pay. “The process is not vindictive. It is in law and within the provisions of the Labour Act.”

The vacancy created by suspension will be taken care of by municipal employees to ensure that the business of the council is not interrupted. “We as workers of the municipality work as a collective and we will take care of the work.”

Meanwhile, the Right2Know campaign sent a request to President Jacob Zuma’s office asking him to state whether he knew that Cwele was implicated in drug trafficking when he appointed her husband to his post in 2009.

And if so, it wants to know why Zuma did not refuse to reappoint him, or remove him from the post in the interests of national security.

The Independent on Sunday reported that Zuma and his predecessor, Kgalema Motlanthe, were aware of the investigation against Sheryl Cwele at the time of her husband’s reappointment.

“The Right2Know campaign calls on President Zuma to answer these questions publicly in the interests of national security and accountability in government,” the organisation said.

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