Limpopo Premier Stan Mathabatha’s office refutes allegations of racism against Rajesh Singh

Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. Picture: Timothy Bernard/African News Agency (ANA)

Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. Picture: Timothy Bernard/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jul 27, 2022


Pretoria - Limpopo Premier Stan Mathabatha’s office has refuted allegations of racism against its chief director of legal services, advocate Rajesh Singh.

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) had called for Singh to be barred from the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).

The Pretoria News yesterday reported that Nehawu had written to Chief Justice Raymond Zondo to suspend Singh with immediate effect following the allegations in a form of a grievance by another senior employee, who can’t be named.

The allegations stem from a WhatsApp post on a work group in 2020 during lockdown, where Singh allegedly wrote “I can’t breathe”, which was followed by three laughing emoticons.

“I can’t breathe” was a hashtag for Black Lives Matter, a campaign against racism following the death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020 at the hands of a white policeman, Derek Chauvin, in the US.

Speaking to the Pretoria News yesterday, Limpopo government spokesperson Ndavhe Ramakuela said there were no findings or recommendations in a report, after the grievance was lodged, to substantiate allegations made against Singh.

“In terms of our records, there has been a grievance lodged by an employee against the chief director of legal services, advocate Singh. Processes to deal with the grievance were followed until the matter was concluded.

“There are no findings and recommendations made in the report to substantiate allegations made against the chief director of legal services. To this extent, a report on the outcome of the grievance was shared with both parties.

“(The) Nehawu Samson Magomane branch subsequently wrote to the office, and the director-general responded to confirm that the matter of grievance raised by the employee was duly concluded so there was no matter to be investigated further in relation to the grievance that was instituted.”

Asked if Justice Zondo had communicated with the premier’s office regarding the matter, Ramakuela said: “The office of the premier has not received such correspondence yet. However, the office is aware of processes to be followed when a grievance is launched.

“First it is dealt with internally and if the party remains aggrieved they may refer the matter to the Public Service Commission.

“Both parties were informed of this right. Alternatively, the parties were informed, if it is a racism matter, they may also approach the Human Rights Commission.”

Ramakuela confirmed that there was no disciplinary hearing constituted against Singh, but a grievance was investigated. He added that a hearing would only be necessary if there was a disciplinary process.

He said that the final outcome of the grievance report found that there was no wrongdoing on the part of Singh.

“There are processes to be followed in case a party in the grievance matter is not satisfied with the outcome. If there are objections to the final outcome of the grievance, those have not been sent to the office as yet.”

Nehawu’s letter to Justice Zondo read in part: “We find it disturbing that a person of advocate Singh’s stature could be involved in a racial crime as per the findings that it should be him who should advocate non-racialism.

“Without constituting a disciplinary inquiry, the office of the premier only arranged to give the advocate a written warning which, according to information at our disposal, he refused to accept.

“We request yourselves to immediately suspend advocate Singh’s participation in the activities of the JSC.”

Both parties confirmed to the Pretoria News that Justice Zondo had not yet responded.

Pretoria News