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Johannesburg - The Labour Court has dismissed with costs suspended Limpopo Human Settlement Department head Nnana Manamela’s application to prevent Premier Stan Mathabatha from disciplining her.
Manamela had filed an urgent application seeking to challenge Mathabatha’s decision last month to suspend her.
She was suspended with full pay for alleged financial misconduct and financial irregularities relating to the R900 million tenders awarded to business partners of former premier Cassel Mathale and allies of Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema.
After she was suspended, Manamela claimed to The Star that the tender investigations were politically motivated.
A forensic probe commissioned by the intervention team appointed by President Jacob Zuma had discovered that some contracts were awarded to companies without valid tax clearance certificates.
Three days after her suspension, she gave the premier an ultimatum to lift the suspension by August 23.
Mathabatha refused, and she approached the court the next day.
Manamela’s representative, a Mr Scholtz, argued in court that Mathabatha had breached provisions of the senior management services handbook when suspending her.
Manamela had wanted Mathabatha to provide her with reasons and to afford her the opportunity to be heard before the suspension could take place. The court rejected the contention.
It ruled that Mathabatha’s decision to suspend Manamela from work, pending the disciplinary hearing, was correct.
“The applicant’s seniority also creates a risk that she could be in a position to possibly tamper with evidence or influence subordinates, being a case pertinently made out by the respondents,” said acting Labour Court Judge AJ Snyman.
The court also dismissed Manamela’s claims that her suspension had been politically motivated.
“These allegations are principally founded in what is nothing more than a bold and unsubstantiated allegation of political motivation being the cause of the suspension in the founding affidavit,” said Judge Snyman.
The judge also expressed his concern about public servants who run to the Labour Court.
“I am concerned with the plethora of cases that come before the Labour Court brought by senior employees in the public sector to challenge their suspensions on an urgent basis, which in essence amounts to bypassing the prescribed dispute-resolution processes in the Labour Relations Act for such kinds of disputes,” said Judge Snyman.
Manamela had been set to appear before the disciplinary hearing on October 14.