Leak has ulterior motive

2013-08-29 00:00

Senior provincial government communications officer Wesley Canham (40) has been found guilty of sexual harassment in a disciplinary hearing held at the legislature earlier this month. He is currently appealing the ruling.

In a media statement amid mounting internal pressure within provincial government’s decision-making body, spokesperson Wonder Hlongwa said the “media leaks” are meant to “steer us away from applying our mind objectively” and that there is “no doubt that such could be focused on ulterior motives”.

Further fall-out from this case could also see the legislature branch of the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) hauled before its regional leaders and questioned about its relevance, credibility and effectiveness. This after Canham refused to have the branch represent him, claiming he did not trust them.

Hlongwa said the outcome of the hearing is now at an appeals stage. “If the disciplinary tribunal decision is upheld, he may then appeal to the political head of the institution, or the secretary of the legislature may call for the reopening of the case or institute an alternative finding.”

He said the legislature will investigate the cause of the media leaks.

A staff meeting arranged for yesterday to discuss concerns over the protection of personal information and their dissatisfaction with the Nehawu branch, was, however, called off.

Skhumbuzo Mdlalose, secretary of Nehawu’s Harry Gwala region, said it is important to find out “just how the information was leaked”.

“What was presented in The Witness should not have happened, where sensitive elements of the case were reported on. While we categorically state we are against all forms of sexual harassment in any setting, we believe that due process must be followed and information pertaining to a case must remain confidential,” said Mdlalose.

He said the union will be calling in the Nehawu legislature branch on September 5 to assess its effectiveness and credibility, stating there are “problems at the branch”.

“We will look at all matters the branch has been involved in to make a fair assessment,” said Mdlalose. Part of the union’s reason for probing the branch rests on the fact that Canham had “issues of mistrust”.

Nehawu provincial secretary Zola Saphetha admitted Nehawu has not been involved in Canham’s issue at a branch level. “We as a union have become involved from the point of the appeal process.”

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