Ex-Agric head sues KZN premier for R1,5 mln

2008-06-30 00:00

Former head of the KZN Agriculture and Environment Affairs Department, Dr Jabulani Mjwara, who resigned in the face of a disciplinary inquiry into allegations of maladministration last April, claims the province owes him R1 514 788 in terms of an oral agreement.

Mjwara makes these claims in an affidavit in support of an application brought by him in the Pietermaritzburg High Court against Premier S’bu Ndebele for payment of this amount, excluding tax.

He is also claiming interest from May 28.

The case has been set down for hearing on July 31.

The premier’s office had not yet been formally served with the papers yesterday, and has about 20 days in which to file a notice of intention to oppose the application.

Mjwara recently also made the news over allegations that he had emerged as the “preferred bidder” for a R12,8 million Msunduzi Municipality tender to dredge Camps Drift canal.

In his affidavit filed yesterday, Mjwara said he was employed as the head of the department on a fixed-term contract set to run until August 31 this year.

He says that during April 2007, he was subjected to disciplinary proceedings and alleges that on April 26 he, the premier and the Agriculture and Environment Affairs MEC Mtholephi Mthimkhulu entered into an oral agreement.

The terms were that he would resign from his post on May 16, 2007, but that the KZN government would pay him what he would have earned had he continued in the post until August 31 this year, he said.

“The amount due to me would take into account that I would have benefited from the general salary adjustment that followed on the restructuring of the [Agricultural Department]. The amount due to me upon my resignation is sum of R1 514 788,” he said.

Mjwara says he resigned from the KZN government, but “in breach of the agreement, the provincial government has not paid me the said sum, or any part thereof, despite numerous demands”.

The media reported that funds totalling over R100 million could not be accounted for because of alleged poor or non-existent record keeping.

The Witness has reported that a forensic investigation was subsequently ordered, but the report, although completed, was not tabled.

Members of the standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) were allegedly told by Finance MEC Dr Zweli Mkhize that the findings form the basis of a broader criminal investigation and could not be divulged.

ingrido@witness.co.za

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