Mbuyiseni Mathonsi File photo: INLSA
Former South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) KwaZulu-Natal secretary Mbuyiseni Mathonsi has been charged with undermining and defying his superiors in the SACP, leading to his suspension from the party.

This was confirmed by the SACP’s second provincial deputy secretary Msizi Nhlapo.

Nhlapo said a date for the disciplinary hearing has yet to be decided.

Mathonsi was suspended from the party last week, shortly before he was fired from the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Agriculture, where he was the head in the office of MEC Themba Mthembu.

The SACP’s youth wing in KZN, the Young Communist League, said it would back Mthembu against Mathonsi.

Young Communists KZN secretary Mlungisi Manana alleged that before he was fired, Mathonsi leaked departmental information to the media in order to damage Mthembu’s reputation.

“We are united behind provincial secretary Themba Mthembu because we honestly believe the SACP is correct to institute disciplinary actions against comrade Mbuyiseni Mathonsi,” he said.

He accused Mathonsi of bringing his departmental dispute with Mthembu into the SACP, “which is an intention to cause division within the party”.

He said the SACP had found that Mathonsi had been ill-disciplined by leaking information against the MEC to the media.

“We have since been able to establish that the bad publicity had been orchestrated by former head of ministry Mathonsi,” said Manana.

Mthembu is also the SACP’s KZN secretary and served with Mathonsi in the SACP provincial executive committee.

It is understood that there had been an irreparable breakdown of their relationship in both institutions.

A source in the department said Mathonsi had abandoned his duties in the office of the MEC and preferred to work from outside the office without authority to do so.

“He has been going to SACP structures to talk about Mthembu’s performance as MEC,” said the source.

At a Department of Agriculture press briefing in Durban this week Mthembu said he had fired Mathonsi because he had been absent from work for long periods without informing him which has caused his office to “collapse”.

Mathonsi declined to comment. “I respect the SACP”. He would not talk about his expulsion from the department because “my lawyers are preparing to challenge it”.

“Mathonsi behaved wayward in the organisation (SACP), and he did so many things that made us unhappy.”

Nhlapho said he would not divulge the merits of the charges against Mathonsi “while we are still investigating him”.

“The worst offence is to place the SACP into disrepute through his conduct,” he said.

Nhlapo said Mathonsi’s suspension from the party a day after he was sacked from the department on August 14 was not related to his work performance.

Mathonsi was fired from the department 10 days after the party had written him a letter “asking him to give reasons he should not be suspended”.

“We have been dealing with the matter for a long time. There had been processes, including engagements, before he was suspended,” Nhlapo added.

Sunday Tribune