Durban - The acting head of eThekwini Metro Police, Sbonelo Mchunu, has been cleared of several allegations of wrongdoing levelled against him in a disciplinary hearing led by his employer.
The decision was handed down last Monday by the presiding officer, Musa Mbhele, who is the city manager. The Mercury understands that Mbhele started presiding over this matter when he was the chief operations officer of the metro.
The leading of evidence and cross-examination in the hearing took three years.
Mchunu, who is considered the front-runner to take over as the head of metro police, had been facing at least six counts of wrongdoing stemming from a forensic investigation conducted a few years ago that looked into allegations of wrongdoing within the unit when he was superintendent.
He is currently acting as the head of metro police following the retirement of Steve Middleton. The interviews to fill this vacancy are expected to be held in the coming weeks.
The outcome of the disciplinary hearing clears a hurdle for Mchunu to be appointed to the post. It comes as he dealing with another matter in which the Local Government Bargaining Council had called into question his appointment to his current post as deputy head. Mchunu is appealing that ruling before the Labour Court.
In the disciplinary matter, among the allegations against Mchunu was that he had used a municipal vehicle to transport his children for private purpose, and that he failed to request and approve operational plans for overtime for one of his officers, which resulted in a breach of overtime policies.
In addition, he was accused of allowing a vehicle to be released without paying towing fees and that he had appointed a staff member to an acting position but failed to disclose a personal relationship with that staff member.
The chair of the disciplinary committee dismissed all the charges.
“Considering the totality of evidence submitted in the disciplinary hearing, the employer has failed to discharge the onus of proof on the balance of probabilities as required. Therefore, I find the employee not guilty on all six charges,” said the presiding officer.
Reacting to the findings, Mchunu said he felt vindicated.
“This whole thing was nothing but gossip mongering of jealous people who will stop at nothing to tarnish the good image of an individual. The money wasted on all sides participating is not worth it.”
Asked about the disciplinary findings, eThekwini Municipality’s spokesperson, Gugu Sisilana, said: “EThekwini Municipality does not discuss employee-employer related matters with third parties.”