ANC boots Carl Niehaus from Luthuli House for allegedly making false statements

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Carl Niehaus. Photo: Jabu Kumalo, Daily Sun
Carl Niehaus. Photo: Jabu Kumalo, Daily Sun
  • Suspended ANC member Carl Niehaus has been dismissed as a Luthuli House staffer for allegedly making false statements.
  • He wrote a statement claiming staff members would be laying criminal charges against the party for not paying them. 
  • Niehaus later retracted the statement, claiming he had been asked to hold off by a staff representative who was meeting party officials.

Having been suspended more than two months ago as an ANC member, Carl Niehaus has now been fired as a Luthuli House employee.

This after he issued a statement in which he said ANC employees would lay criminal charges on Thursday against "ANC national office bearers and member of the party's national executive committee for the continued non-payment of salaries and general abuse of ANC staff due to the criminal conduct by the senior management of the ANC". 

Niehaus later backtracked in a letter to the ANC and said he was laying criminal charges against the party in his personal capacity. 

In a letter addressed to him by ANC general manager Febe Potgieter, the party informed him it had received his letter and asked him to give reasons as to why it should not summarily dismiss him and terminate his contract of employment.

READ | ANC takes action against Zuma loyalist Carl Niehaus, temporarily suspends his membership

Niehaus responded by informing the ANC he had made the statement in his personal capacity as he intended to lay criminal charges against the party. 

He, however, maintained other aggrieved staff members also had a hand in formulating the statement, adding he had not retracted his intention to lay criminal charges but had placed the matter on hold after a staff representative set up a meeting with the ANC on Thursday.

Potgieter said while the party noted Niehaus' response, it found it "unfortunate that instead of taking the opportunity to clarify the allegations, he elected to construe the letter as an attack".

He was informed his written representation was "considered against the backdrop" of the numerous warnings the ANC had repeatedly issued for his "public pronouncements and conduct which sought to undermine it as your employer" and that his "persisted conduct continuously brought" the party into disrepute.

She added:

On 12 October 2020 and 19 January 2021 you were issued with written warnings for behaviour which demonstrated your total disregard, refusal and neglect to comply with the terms of your employment agreement with the ANC and which conduct was inconsistent with the code of conduct and level of discipline expected of staff members of the ANC

Instead of correcting his behaviour as instructed, Potgieter said, Niehaus chose to send an "urgent media alert on social media wherein he informed the public of his intent to lay criminal charges of theft, fraud, corruption and various statutory charges against the national office bearers of the ANC and your employer and the ANC".

She added in his written representations, he did not provide "any cogent reasons for the ANC to arrive at any conclusion other than that the employment relationship between him and the organisation has completely and irretrievably broken down".

"Accordingly, this letter serves as notice of your summary dismissal as an employee of the ANC. You can collect your personal belongings from ANC security at Luthuli House tomorrow between 10:00 and 11:00," read Potgieter's letter. 

Niehaus was given seven working days to appeal his dismissal.

ALSO READ | ‘I dedicated my whole adult life to the ANC’ – Carl Niehaus bemoans suspension

In a statement, ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe said the party was dismayed by Niehaus' divisive and opportunistic behaviour, which he described as anti-ANC. 

Mabe added: 

The ANC has interacted with staff representatives and they have unequivocally confirmed that Carl Niehaus does not represent them, nor does he have the mandate to act on their behalf. His desperate lust for publicity and his latest withdrawal of the latest fraudulent statement does not augur well with Carl’s self-claimed credentials

Speaking to News24, Niehaus said: "I reject that I am divisive and that I made a fraudulent statement as claimed by Mabe.

"I take fundamental outrage at his allegations that the statement only represented my views.

"The statement was indeed made by me and other aggrieved staff members of the ANC and we only withdrew it when we met with a leader of the ANC staff representative who told us that they were meeting with the party this afternoon [Thursday] and asked that we hold back, which we did. 

ALSO READ | Niehaus plans to challenge lockdown arrest, fine in court

"In any case, I have a right, actually, it's a duty as a citizen to open a criminal case if I know of any wrongdoing, and in this case I do." 

He added, as an employee, he was mandated to report any wrongdoing he was privy to. 

Niehaus told News24 he received a letter on Thursday from Potgieter "who informed me that I had two and a half hours to respond to her queries or I would be dismissed". 

"I have replied in the given time, but that is deplorable behaviour by the organisation and amounts to bullying." 

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