Home Affairs DG: Look at both sides

2017-12-10 06:09
Hlengiwe Mkhize

Hlengiwe Mkhize

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The article titled “Why DG stays at home affairs”, written by Mcebisi Ndletyana, intended to inflict maximum damage to my reputation with the amount of venom it contained.

Ndletyana’s instinctive vitriolic attack on me, using an affidavit that was submitted to court, is a serious cause for concern.

If Ndletyana had aimed to set for himself a task of providing a personal opinion on the matter between home affairs Director-General (DG) Mkuseli Apleni and myself, he should have, in accordance with accepted and/or general professional ethics, given due consideration to both affidavits filed in court.

This approach would have worked to his advantage in his endeavour to camouflage what is patently his prejudice and vendetta against me.

Let me remind Ndletyana that the affidavit he chose as the basis for his malicious personal attack was never about the spurious allegations that he seems to be making.

The court did not deal with the merits of the case. Instead, Ndletyana mischievously chose to use the media as a trial platform with his claims to rubbish those merits.

The court focused and ruled on the powers of the [home affairs] minister to suspend the DG.

As such, the charges of insubordination and dereliction of duty against Apleni remain, as they have not been tested or contested in the court, except in the court of public opinion to which Ndletyana has appointed himself as judge.

Allegations against Apleni would have been tested at a disciplinary enquiry, which was to follow after the suspension.

Since no disciplinary inquiry took place, it would be presumptuous for anyone to suggest that Apleni has been exonerated.

Therefore, his continuing stay in the department has absolutely nothing to do with the merits of the case against him and the plethora of allegations levelled against him.

At the time when I joined the department, Apleni was already facing a number of accusations, which included his dismissive attitude towards legitimate grievances of workers.

Organised labour had even threatened to bring services of the department to its knees.

Ndletyana continues to make a number of untested and disparaging assertions, while at the same time casting aspersions on my competence.

A niggling question is on what basis did he come to those kinds of conclusions about my performance in the public service?

What method or scientific tool did he use to evaluate my performance?

My record in the public service speaks for itself.

How would a person who has never spoken to me or even worked with me get to such unfortunate conclusions about my integrity, competence or performance?

What gives him the right to mount such a vitriolic personal attack on me without facts which are cogent enough to sustain his conclusions?


The motives behind Ndletyana’s article are indeed deeply suspicious and questionable, to say the least.

Obviously, like most people who use a similar modus operandi, Ndletyana is most likely to dignify, justify or camouflage his spontaneous vitriolic attack on my personal integrity by using the basic tenets of our Constitution, like freedom of speech and public interest.

However, if the argument he presents was to be subjected to the values enshrined in the Constitution, Ndletyana’s article is not only an academic embarrassment and a shame, but a violation of my fundamental rights to be treated with respect and dignity.

Whatever wrong Ndletyana thinks I have committed, if he has any integrity, in accordance with his freedom of speech, a balance and a sound argument by him is one that also takes my fundamental human rights into account.

The fact of the matter is that Ndletyana’s freedom of speech is only free for as long as it does not encroach on mine.

The article and the argument it sought to advance are not only biased and sensational, but also polemic.

As said earlier, the fact that Ndletyana failed to adhere to some basic professional standards before availing himself to become a mouthpiece of DG Apleni leaves a lot to be desired.

I also think that it is completely disingenuous and a gross misrepresentation of facts for Ndletyana to attribute all the success of the home affairs department to one person.

Far from it, there are many exceptional men and women I have had the rare privilege and honour of interacting with.

These are good public servants, who, because of their sense of patriotism, humility, diligence and unwavering commitment, deserve more credit for bringing the department to where it is today.

It is quite disheartening that a man of Ndletyana’s stature and calibre would stoop to such levels where he allows himself to assume the role that is only reserved for the worst of polemicists and sensationalists.

After reading and rereading his article, I had two options – either I choose to dignify his sensational allegations with a decent response or simply ignore and dismiss it.

However, I have learnt the hard way that whenever a malicious lie is left unchallenged, the unsuspecting public might end up believing it.

The case in question had nothing to do with all of Ndletyana’s allegations, and there are two affidavits. One affidavit was submitted by the DG of home affairs and another one by myself.

However, instead of considering both sides of the story, Ndletyana took the easiest option – populism and the path most travelled by sensationalist academic dwarves and polemicists.

Mkhize is the minister of higher education and training

Read more on:    home affairs  |  hlengiwe mkhize

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