Education Dept faces contempt charge

2014-11-27 00:00

DESPITE being ordered to reinstate a school principal, the provincial Education ­Department has taken no action and may now face a contempt of court charge.

Newcastle resident Maquinga Zuma (68) was employed as a teacher by the department in 1981. In 1998 he was appointed deputy principal of Thathunyawo High becoming principal in 2001. In 2004, he was transferred to Thubelihle High School.

The Education Department later undertook a ­financial inspection of Thathunyawo High School in ­response to a complaint by a member of the public ­involving alleged financial ­irregularities in 2003.

A report was completed in June 2006 and two years later, in May 2008, Zuma was issued with a notice of a disciplinary inquiry. Following this inquiry he was dismissed from his post in April 2009.

An arbitration award given in December 2011 held that the Zuma’s dismissal by the Education Department was “substantively fair but procedurally unfair”. Zuma was award R28 000 in compensation.

In July this year, in a labour court action, this award was reviewed on the basis there was no evidence to sustain the finding, that Zuma had a clean disciplinary record and he was never suspended but continued working until 2009.

In a judgment delivered on September 18 by acting judge A.J. Hobden, Zuma’s ­dismissal was found to be “substantively and procedurally unfair” and the KZN Education Department was instructed to re-instate him “to the position he held as at the date of his dismissal”. To date this has not been done.

Meanwhile both Zuma and his lawyer have contacted the education department but without response. “We haven’t heard anything from them,” said Zuma.

Zuma said the judgment had been received and signed for by an Education Department official at the time of its delivery.

On October 29 the sheriff of the court hand delivered the judgment to Education MEC Peggy Nkonyeni, and HOD Nkosinathi Sishi.

Zuma said if they did not respond within the required 30 days he would consider instituting an action for contempt of court. “They must reinstate me then pay me back for losses I have suffered”.

Zuma said that since his dismissal he had had no other source of income. The Education Department was contacted for comment but none had been received by the time of going to press.

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