Sidelined crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli was not personally served with a notice of intention to suspend him, the Johannesburg Labour Court heard on Thursday.
Mdluli's lawyer Graham Moshoana argued that his client denied receiving the notice during a meeting with Lt-Gen Fannie Masemola on May 15.
"There is no dispute that the meeting took place, but what the applicant [Mdluli] is denying is that he was personally served the notice," he said.
"The respondent [former acting police commissioner Nhlanhla Mkwanazi] says it gave an opportunity to respond, but it must prove that the applicant refused to sign the notice."
Masemola said in court documents that he had served the notice to Mdluli on May 15. Mdluli allegedly said he would sign it on May 16, once he had consulted his lawyers.
"Why did Masemola agree [to Mdluli's alleged promise of signing later] if he knew the importance of signing?" Moshoana said.
Masemola said he subsequently followed up with Mdluli on May 16 with a phone call and an SMS. Both were allegedly ignored.
Moshoana said Mosemola's testimony could have been fabricated to prevent giving Mdluli a chance to represent himself before his suspension.
This meant the suspension was in breach of his contract.
Mkwanazi's lawyer William Mokhari said Mdluli's right to be heard was not an "absolute right" and did not point to the parts of his contract which stipulated the right.
"If the court cannot decide which version of events [on May 15] is true, the application must be dismissed," he said.
"The applicant's version is so far-fetched. Why would Lt-Gen Mosemola not give him the notice during the two-hour meeting, during which the issue of the notice should have come up?"
He said the case should be referred to the CCMA or bargaining council because the suspension was not an unfair labour practice.
Judge Andre can Niekerk said he would rule on the matter at 10am on Monday.