Hofmeyr fires another top official

2011-08-06 18:35

Special Investigating Unit boss Willie Hofmeyr has fired another senior official despite a court ordering her reinstatement.
He may now face another court battle.

Mizeria Nyathi, the unit’s now former head of business support, was informed of the decision to fire her on Wednesday, said her lawyer, Graham Moshoana.

Hofmeyr initially suspended Nyathi in April after a document calling for him to resign, and detailing his alleged failure to deal with racism at the Special Investigating Unit, was leaked.

The unit cited Nyathi’s refusal to be subjected to a lie detector test as its reason for this week’s dismissal.

“They told her she was in material breach of her contract,” Moshoana said.

Nyathi is the third senior official to be fired from the unit this year.

Last week Hofmeyr was forced to allow Nyathi to return to work after Judge Annelie Basson ordered the unit to “permit Nyathi to resume her duties” in her R90 000-a-month job.

She had brought an urgent application to the Labour Court on July 14, the day the unit wanted to fire her.

The battle between Nyathi and Hofmeyr started in February after an internal investigation allegedly found that the document was typed on a computer belonging to Nyathi’s daughter.

A day after her suspension Nyathi was instructed to undergo a polygraph test, which she declined.

The test was to verify whether there was any truth in the allegations against her.

The court described the tests as intrusive but conceded they were reasonable for an entity like the unit if applied fairly and only when necessary.

Nyathi also wanted to interdict the Special Investigating Unit against firing her but this was dismissed by Basson.

Moshoana said his client did not return to work and was put on leave until this Friday, after the unit asked for more time to study the judgment.

“This leaves a bitter taste. What kind of employer fires someone for refusing to undergo a lie detector test?” asked Moshoana.

In response, the unit said Nyathi was given an opportunity to make representations as to why her employment contract should not be terminated. She chose not to.

Nor did she offer any explanation for why she refused to undergo a polygraph examination.

The unit terminated Nyathi’s contract on Wednesday.

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