Drugs: Welfare official placed on leave
Cape Town - A Western Cape social welfare senior director charged with drug possession after allegedly being found with tik in his car, has been placed on leave with immediate effect, social development MEC Albert Fritz said on Wednesday.
Dave McNamara was arrested in the Senator Park block of flats in the city centre early on June 28 2011, but the matter came to light only on Tuesday after Die Son newspaper reported on the case.
A tik straw and tik lolly were allegedly found in his pockets. He had been widely quoted in the media through the years about the Western Cape's drug problem.
"It has been brought to my attention that a senior official in my department was arrested last year on a charge of possession of illegal substances," Fritz said.
"I have taken legal advice on the matter and have decided on the following course of action. The official has been placed on leave with immediate effect for the next seven days.
"In line with labour legislation, he has been informed of the department’s intention to proceed with suspension and during this time, he will have the opportunity to defend the allegations.
"Upon the lapse of this seven day period, a decision will be taken on whether or not to suspend the official."
Fritz said "contingency plans" were in place to ensure continued service delivery.
McNamara is expected to appear in the Cape Town Magistrate's Court again in April.
Zodwa Mgwaza, the ANC's spokesperson for social development in the provincial legislature, said it was unclear how Fritz could have been kept in the dark about the matter for eight months.
"Substance abuse is a serious problem causing enormous suffering in the province," Mgwaza said.
"The DA must ensure the battle against drugs continues unharmed."