HCM fires Sheryl Cwele

2011-08-17 00:00

CONVICTED drug trafficker Sheryl Cwele has been fired by the Hibiscus Coast Municipality (HCM).

Cwele, who was the head of health services, has 10 days to appeal the decision.

The dismissal comes after an independent chairperson concluded the hearings between Cwele and her employer and recommended termination of her employment.

She was found guilty of all charges levelled against her by HCM. They constitute misconduct and being found guilty of a criminal offence, which impact on her position with the municipality.

In announcing the verdict, HCM municipal manager Sbusiso Mkhize said, “Council has deliberated the recommendation from the independent chairperson and it was unanimously agreed to accept the dismissal.”

He said the decision is a straightforward matter and no settlement will be paid to Cwele.

HCM mayor Cynthia Mqwebu welcomed the decision, saying the council and the community have been waiting for a decision.

“It feels like a huge weight has been taken off our shoulders. I must commend the municipal manager for advising us to follow the proper protocol for this dismissal.

“We have to follow the process so that no mistakes come back to us and the municipality does not get sued,” said Mqwebu.

Opposition parties concurred with the mayor.

Democratic Alliance councillor Doug Rawlins said, “The DA is pleased with the decision and it is a process which we would like to put behind us. We have to respect and honour the process prescribed by labour laws.”

Simon Soboyisa, a spokesperson for the municipality, said there have been indications that Cwele will appeal the ruling.

“According to our lawyers, the independent chairperson advised lawyers from both parties about the decision for dismissal on August 5. There was an indication of intent to appeal from Cwele’s legal representation.”

The 10 days’ grace to appeal will only apply from the day when Cwele — and not her legal representation — is officially notified of the dismissal.

“Council has met and ensured that by the end of the business today Ms Cwele will be informed of her dismissal.”

Contacted yesterday, Cwele’s attorney, Edward Ngubane, denied knowledge of his client’s employment status.

“We have not been advised by the municipality of her dismissal, therefore we cannot comment on a way forward at this stage.”

If Cwele appeals she will continue to be paid her salary of R29 000 until a verdict on the appeal is handed down as she will still be an employee until the process is finalised.

Since her drug trafficking conviction in May and her subsequent suspension following her disciplinary hearing, Cwele has been continued to be paid.

She went to the labour court to have the decision by the council to withdraw her salary, taken in mid-June, reversed.

Cwele is appealing her 12-year sentence for drug trafficking.

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