State Attorney staff warn of strike

2012-05-09 00:00

WORKING conditions at the KwaZulu-Natal State Attorney’s office are worse now than they were under the apartheid government, say staff there.

Some staff, including attorneys, are reportedly threatening to go on strike soon if Justice Minister Jeff Radebe and his director-general, Nonkululeko Sindane, fail to act against KZN State Attorney’s office head Krish Govender.

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) has accused Govender of bullying, victimising, humiliating and embarrassing staff in the presence of other employees, treating them unfairly and discriminating against those who complained about him.

Govender denied the allegations.

Nehawu spokesperson Zweli Langa said: “The workers have described that office as worse than it was under apartheid. At least under apartheid we knew that it was because we had not achieved democracy.”

He said there had been managerial problems since Govender took over the office in 1998.

“An investigation was conducted in 2010 by Abdullah Ismail [of the Gauteng department of sports and recreation]. The report made recommendations and it was sent to the minister and the DG in October last year. They are now sitting on that report.

“We had hoped that this investigation would shine a light on the situation, but nothing is happening.”

Langa said two senior state attorneys had quit and some senior administrative staff were medically boarded because of stress.

He said they had given Radebe until next week to act on the investigation, or else the staff would go on strike.

A source at the office described the allegations against Govender as “scandalous mischief-making”.

He confirmed that lawyers at the office had signed a letter distancing themselves from those making the allegations, but said this was done of their own volition.

Govender declined to comment and directed all communications to Tlali Tlali, the spokesperson for the department.

Tlali said it was not true that the entire component of the office was set to embark on a strike.

“These are comments made by a few individuals who are known to us. They should come to the department to discuss whatever the issues are,” Tlali said.


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