‘Fired for no reason'

2007-11-11 00:00

A senior employee at the uMgungundlovu District Municipality has been sacked, with no reasons given for his dismissal and no opportunity granted for him to defend himself, re-awakening allegations that controversial municipal manager, Monica Mngadi, may be implementing a rumoured hit-list.

The Witness learnt last week that Alfred Ntlabathi, the council's principal administrative officer for policy development, was dismissed while on sick leave from the municipality.

The Witness has learnt from other sources that it is believed that Ntlabathi was dismissed because the council and Mngadi believe that he was linked to recent media articles written about her.

In February Mngadi was granted R200 000 for her own 24- hour security after rumours emerged that she had allegedly penned a list of fellow senior managers she wanted fired for supporting previous municipal manager Max Moyo.

She denied the hit list at the time, saying that the rumours were “devastating” and posed “a personal risk” to her life.

In a letter Mngadi wrote to Moyo then, she referred to herself and finance SEM Bongani Ndlovu as authors of the list, however, it was not clear why Mngadi was afforded security and not Ndlovu.

Now sources say that two other senior managers have been suspended at the municipality.

When approached by The Witness, Ntlabathi confirmed his dismissal and said that he has sought legal advice, citing it as unfair.

He said rumours that he was suspended in October are untrue. “I was on sick leave from October 1 and have the doctor's certificates to prove it. Council has in its possession two medical certificates, both with their official stamp indicating they had received them.”

He received his letter of dismissal on November 1. “I was extremely shocked and disappointed. It said that my dismissal was with effect from 30 October and gave no reasons for it. The letter gives me no rights to appeal as per the prescripts of the law, and I don't understand why this is so, when other employees are given that right and the right to defend themselves.”

Ntlabathi said that it smacked of a “get rid of me quickly” approach.

The disciplinary hearing that was held for him took place in his absence, despite the council having received a sick certificate from him. He was thus unable to defend himself against whatever charge was put to him.

He said that in terms of firing a person there were certain procedures that had to be adhered to.

“I will seek advice and protection through labour law which has been put in place to protect workers from unlawful action from their employers.”

Ntlabathi was previously a shop steward for the SA Municipal Workers' Union.

Ntlabathi told The Witness that the issue has further complicated matters as far as his health is concerned, and has impacted on the “psychological framework of his family as a whole”.

Approached for comment on Ntlabathi's dismissal, Sithole said she had not been briefed on the matter and referred The Witness to Mngadi.

Mngadi said she could not comment, as she believes Ntlabathi had approached attorneys and that the matter is now sub-judice.

When asked to comment on her CV, she said council was handling the matter through their attorney.

stephs@witness.co.za

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