Land staff want boss out

2008-10-13 00:00

Staff at the office of the KwaZulu-Natal regional land claims commissioner have gone on an indefinite strike, citing a lack of response to their demand for the suspension of department head Siduduzile Sosibo.

Dozens of employees are “waiting outside the department building [in Pietermaritzburg] until Sosibo is relieved from her duties”.

The “sit-out” follows a call by the National Education and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu), which represents the employees, for Sosibo’s suspension.

The workers said the acting chief land claims commissioner, Blessing Mphela, has failed to respond to their demands. “We are not obsessed about her being dismissed. We need her out of the office. What the department decides to do with her is their business,” said one of the picketers.

Nehawu presented a report to Mphela in August demanding the removal of Sosibo from the office, citing incompetence and abuse of power among other grievances. The union said Sosibo is to blame for the fact that land reform has ground to a halt in the sugar and timber industries.

“In the last 24 months there have been a lot of resignations … since [Sosibo] took over the reins.” The report also states that more than 40 vacant posts have not been filled.

In a letter to staff yesterday, Mphela assured them that the investigation into the allegations has been completed. “… We need strategic guidance from Land Minister Lulu Xingwana before we can roll out implementation of the report.”

He said he will brief Xingwana about the situation, but asked for patience.

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