KZN prison boss happy to be back at work

2016-03-31 16:34

Durban - KwaZulu-Natal Correctional Services boss Mnikelwa Nxele on Wednesday said he was happy to be back at work, after the Durban Labour Court set aside a decision taken by the Department of Correctional Services to place him on special leave.

Nxele told News24 that he appeared at the Durban Labour Court last Tuesday to fight misconduct charges laid against him by the department.

National Commissioner Zach Modise issued a statement in January placing Nxele under suspension, following allegations of acts of gross insubordination and failure to implement instructions of the national office.

Nxele reportedly believed the misconduct allegations related to his refusal to carry out Modise’s instruction to re­instate an employee, Smangele Ngobese, who had been fired in absentia in 2012. Ngobese was reportedly fired in 2012 for failing to report to work for more than 30 consecutive days.

A report by the Witness stated that Ngobese and Police Minister Nathi Nhleko had a relationship which resulted in a love child. The information appeared in court documents filed by Nxele. The letters were reportedly submitted to both the Public Service Commission and Public Protector in November 2015. The letters were also reportedly sent to the investigative bodies to probe Modise’s handling of the Ngobese matter.

Nxele said: "I have been back at work for a week now. I am happy."

He said he was passionate about his job.

"This is my life, with all the accomplishments and mistakes. I started working for Correctional Services at the age of 19 in Pietermaritzburg.

"This is not just a career to me; I hold it close to my heart. When I face storms in my life, my mother always says that people don’t know where I started. I have worked hard to get to where I am today."

He said the challenge was rebuilding the organisation and making sure that staff worked as a collective.

"The essence of collective effort should not be lost in petty squabbles. Let us work together, because correctional services is everyone’s responsibility, not just mine."

He said he noted that the department had announced his suspension in the media, however failed to inform the media that he was back at work.

"I am fine with it, there is no bad blood. The matter has been dealt with now," said Nxele. 






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