120621. Cape Town. Steven Otter in St Georges Mall. Picture Henk Kruger/Cape Argus

 For more than a month, Steven Otter has been paid with taxpayers’ money for working what he says was all of half an hour.

Robin Carlisle’s former spin doctor is taking the provincial government as well as the transport MEC and his head of office, Hector Eliott, to court, saying he wants his old job back.

On Thursday, the matter will be heard by the Cape Town Labour Court.

Otter has filed urgent papers with the Cape Town Labour Court asking that it order the MEC, Carlisle, to reinstate him, although another person is working in the position.

Otter says he was transferred because of his vegetarian diet, casual dress sense, for being a teetotaller and for complaining about Carlisle’s office smoking habit.

However, Eliott says Otter was transferred to the communications unit in the office of the premier.

Eliott has said in court papers that this was done for a variety of reasons, including crucial mistakes Otter made in carrying out his duties.

Otter says that at no stage was any action taken against him,

Also, his performance review had not reflected his making crucial mistakes.

In his affidavit, Eliott said Otter had been transferred after a mediation session involving the spin doctor and Carlisle.

In his replying affidavit, Otter says he was transferred to a department where he was meant to share an office with Eliott’s brother, Conrad, “who has, in turn, refused me access to his office unless accompanied by security officials”.


Otter was then transferred to another section where, he says, he “does not have access to a telephone or a computer”.

In his affidavit he says he has “not been given a single task to perform, barring one 30-minute task, and might as well stay at home”.

Eliott said that Otter’s new position entailed several important duties, all of them performed on behalf of the Department of the Premier.

In his affidavit, Eliott said his understanding of Otter’s job was that he was required to “analyse media communications and to make recommendations regarding media and public relations strategies”.

Cape Argus