Nkandla hearing postponed after employee a no-show

2017-04-24 11:33
Nkandla disciplinary hearing. (Kaveel Singh, News24)

Nkandla disciplinary hearing. (Kaveel Singh, News24)

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Durban - One of the Nkandla disciplinary hearings was postponed on Monday after department of public works employee Sibusiso Chonco was a no-show.

Chonco is part of disciplinary hearings of 12 Department of Public Works officials accused of acting unlawfully in their roles in the R246m security upgrade of President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla homestead.

Representing Chonco, lawyer Adrian Moodley said his client had been given a sick note by a doctor who booked him off from March 29 to April 29.

Moodley pleaded with chairperson Thulani Khuzwayo in the hopes of a postponement. In his request, he conceded that a postponement was an "indulgence".

Moodley argued that Chonco was on "quite a bit of medication" and didn't feel it would be fair to have him participate in proceedings.

FOLLOW all the News24 content on the Nkandla saga here

Depression

However, lawyer representing the department, Clement Kulati, said that proceedings had been suspended for far too long. He said that if Chonco was booked off sick in March, he should have informed the disciplinary proceedings.

"If he booked off sick he or someone from his family would have applied leave of absence or temp disability leave."

Kulati added that Chonco had been suffering from depression since 2000 until now.

"It is accepted labour law framework that employees become sick and depressed during disciplinary hearings. They cannot be excused based on sick certificate."

Khuzwayo also grilled Moodley on why the medical certificate didn't specify that Chonco was to be exempt from the hearings.

Moodley stated that he would have to speak to Chonco and attempt to get clarity from the doctor.

During proceedings Khuzwayo ordered Moodley to summon Chonco to the disciplinary. However, Chonco indicated that he would not attend on Monday or Tuesday, both days scheduled for his proceedings.

In postponing proceedings for the day, Khuzwayo said that the disciplinary would continue on Tuesday with or without Chonco.

"We are adjourning it for him to be here tomorrow. Even if you have to fetch him from his house, we have to get this matter sorted. We have to try. Let's make sure he is here tomorrow. If he is not here we will proceed."

Read more on:    durban  |  nkandla upgrades

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