Mannya to dispute dismissal

2009-07-28 00:00

FORMER KZN Agriculture head of department (HOD), Modidima Mannya, is challenging his recent dismissal in the Pietermaritzburg High Court.

Mannya was found guilty of 16 out of 27 charges, in a disciplinary inquiry which lasted 14 months. On July 17 presiding officer advocate B.J. Buthelezi ruled that he should be dismissed.

By Friday Mannya filed an urgent application in the Pietermaritzburg High Court to interdict Premier Zweli Mkhize from implementing the dismissal.

The matter is to be heard on Friday. In his papers, Mannya asks for the presiding officer’s judgement to be reviewed and/or set aside, alleging that Buthelezi was biased. As proof he submitted a supporting affidavit from a Dr Mandla Buthelezi, the deputy president of the National African Farmers’ Union of South Africa. According to Mannya, “Dr Buthelezi confirmed he was visited by the second respondent [the presiding officer] and had been informed by him that while he was sympathetic to my cause, he had been given formal instructions to find me guilty and to dismiss me.”

Mannya contends that from the outset the charges brought against him were “trumped up” because he refused to carry out “certain unlawful instructions”. He alleged that former premier Sbu Ndebele through his director-general, Dr Kwazi Mbanjwa’ had instructed him to transfer an amount of € 300 000 to a Dubai-based company called Auro International for a tourism conference, which did not fall under the function of his department.

“Mbanjwa informed me that my compliance with instructions would ensure that no discipinary action would be taken against me.”

Another such instruction, he alleged, was for his participation in the controversial development of Mac­ambini, with a Dubai-based company called Ruwaad Holdings.

He further alleged that some of the charges against him relate to disciplinary actions he intended taking against certain department officials involved in an R18 million contract with a company called Cord Consulting, without following proper procurement.

The 27 charges Mannya faced related to his management style regarding staff relations, including the victimisation of certain staff members, harrassment and humiliation of senior managers in front of their subordinates and sidelining them in the management of the department.

Mannya, an advocate by profession, was appointed HOD in August 2007 to spearhead a turnaround in the department mired in allegations of corruption.

This was after the former head, Dr Jabulani Mjwara was fingered in an audit report for the mismanagement of more than R100 million of the department’s budget. Mjwara resigned shortly before the start of his disciplinary hearing and the audit report has never been made public. Opposition parties’ request for the audit report in the legislature, over the past years, have been met with the response that the matter is under criminal investigation.

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