Pretoria - Suspended Director-General of Home Affairs, Mkuseli Apleni’s situation is still unclear after President Jacob Zuma on Tuesday replaced now former Home Affairs Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize with Ayanda Dlodlo, but he is still fighting his suspension in court.
Apleni’s urgent application went ahead in the Gauteng High Court Pretoria on Tuesday - the same day on which Zuma appointed former Minister of Communications Ayanda Dlodlo as the new minister of Home Affairs.
Apleni was in high spirits at court but he remained tight-lipped about the replacement of the minister.
While the packed public gallery speculated on his future in light of Dlodlo’s appointment, legal arguments proceeded as normal.
But after the lunch break, Judge Hans Fabricius broke the silence over the reshuffling of Cabinet and asked the parties whether the issues were still relevant in light of Mkhize’s replacement.
“Will it make any difference to the application? Will the trust and other issues not fall by the wayside,” the judge wanted to know. He questioned what the implications of the reshuffle were for this application.
This was after the bulk of the morning was taken up by counsel for Apleni who highlighted the break of trust between Mkhize and Apleni. This, it was argued, was the main reason for his suspension.
Advocate William Mokhare SC after the lunch break told the judge that in light of the replacement of the minister, some of the issues, especially the trust issues did indeed fall by the wayside.
The judge commented that the new minister may decide to uplift Apleni’s suspension or have another view on the matter as her predecessor. “The issues may become moot. I don’t want to spend time on a judgment and then all the issues fall by the wayside.”
He adjourned the court for the Apleni camp to obtain instruction on whether the matter should go ahead or not.
Mokhare was back after five minutes and said home affairs’ legal department could not shed any light on the situation, as they have not yet seen the new minister or spoke to her. He said they could thus not make a decision regarding the matter.
Mokhari said there were issues in the law which had to be decided in any event, but he promised to inform the judge if the new minister did decide to lift the suspension.
Judgment was reserved.