As the battle between national correctional services commissioner Arthur Fraser, and the department’s KwaZulu-Natal head, Mnikelwa Nxele, intensifies, Nxele was on Thursday barred from reporting to work.
When Nxele, who has been on suspension for several months, arrived at work on Thursday morning he was met with correctional services armed guards who prevented him from entering the department’s KZN regional offices in Pietermaritzburg’s College Road.
One of the guards told Nxele that they had been instructed to block him from entering the department’s offices.
“According to the letter from the national commission, which was handed to us, you are still on suspension,” the guard said.
In May an arbitrator ruled that Nxele should return to work as his suspension was in contravention with South African labour laws.
However, a few days later, Fraser filed court papers to interdict Nxele from returning to work.
While the court ruled in favour of Fraser, it gave him 60 days in which to file papers showing why the interdict should be made permanent.
However, Fraser missed the 60-day deadline, paving the way for Nxele to return to work.
Nxele, who arrived at the department’s College Road offices at around 10am, told the armed guards clad in black uniforms that their actions were illegal.
“The matter is in court and this piece of paper which you are showing me was written by Fraser – it’s not a court order.
“Where is the court order saying I should not report to work. The instruction which you were given is illegal,” he said.
By late Thursday morning Nxele was still embroiled in a standoff with the guards.