Alex corruption buster back in the hot seat

By Time of article published Aug 8, 2012

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CORRUPT politicians wanting protection in Alexandra have been found to be the reason behind the suspension of Job Sithole, the director of the Alexandra Renewal Project (ARP).

He was reinstated this week after an arbitration hearing by the CCMA. A report from the CCMA does not mention individual politicians’ names, but speaks of widespread interference and corruption, and says Sithole should have been applauded instead of suspended for trying to root out this corruption and expose politicians.

Sithole was charged by the City of Joburg for insubordination and suspended in March for refusing to be side-lined into a position of a director of one of the city regions.

He was first told he was being moved because of “community dynamics” and then suspended when he refused to be side-lined.

The community dynamics, according to CCMA commissioner, Advocate A Swanepoel’s report, followed a workshop held on November 18 last year, in which it was explained to the ANCYL that the project would continue under Sithole. Early this year, the Alexandra ANCYL staged a “sit-in” at Mayor Parks Tau’s office calling for Sithole’s suspension.

It was mentioned in the arbitration documents, which The Star Africa has in its possession, that Sithole was trying to eliminate corruption and, as a result, certain parties with financial interests wanted him out.

Sithole, however, refused to be moved, insisting on being furnished with reasons for his removal, said Swanepoel. He said Sithole was targeted because he exposed corrupt politicians.

“Political issues can never outweigh the performance of an employee … Indeed, if he was targeted because he was exposing corrupt politicians who abused their power … then the refusal to move was correct, as it would fuel and enhance the fraudulent activities undertaken by those elected to serve the community, and should not be rewarded with the removal of an honest employee set on performing his duties with sincerity and having the interest of his employer and its mandate at heart.”

Swanepoel said he found in his investigation that during city evaluations, the project was found to be well run, even after the incidents involving Sithole’s suspension, and that he performed his duties well. “No evidence was presented of underperformance or his bearing on the ability to carry out his duties, or that he was incompatible with staff … He should be commended for the stance he took and the action he took to root out corruption and address corrupt politicians,” he said.

Swanepoel found that although the city maintained that he had become a “contentious person” who made life uncomfortable for those involved in schemes and fraud within Alexandra, evidence showed that “a majority of organisations acknowledged the good work done by Sithole”.

He also found that Sithole was reasonable in asking for the reasons for his removal as director of the project, which were never furnished to him by the council. Also, there were no recorded minutes of his being informed of his side-lining.

Matters presented to the commissioner were:

l Politicians trying to obtain money they were not entitled to;

l The allocation of houses to a boyfriend instead of a deserving elderly person;

l The solicitation of a payment of R1,5 million to a party not entitled to it; and

l The allocation of property to people when the insurance and other obligations were not met, thus exposing the city to great financial and other risks.

Sithole, who has reported several cases of corruption to the police, has had his life threatened on several occasions. He refused to comment on his reinstatement.

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