Mkhwebane disciplined Sphelo Samuel in anger

Anger has been cited as the reason for the unfair dismissal of Sphelo Samuel from the office of the public protector in the Free State in 2020.

Sphelo, who is the second witness to testify against the embattled public protector in the inquiry into her fitness to hold office, is currently giving evidence in the Vrede Farm Report.

Samuel, who was recently reinstated as the head of the branch, told the parliament’s Section194 Committee on Friday, that he believes he was targeted because the disciplinary proceedings into his alleged misconduct at the time only began after he had lodged a complaint with the Speaker of the National Assembly against Mkhwebane.

Samuel asserted to the committee how he was not given a fair chance during the disciplinary hearings leading up to his dismissal which was later nullified by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration (CCMA).

He said he could only participate on the first day of the hearing, adding that he felt compelled to take the matter up with the CCMA and was exonerated.

DA Shadow MP for Basic Education Bax Nodada, who is also a member of the committee,  asked Samuel to elaborate on the CCMA judgment which led to his reinstatement.

Samuel said the CCMA commissioner James Ngoako Matshekga found that Mkhwebane had subjected him to a disciplinary hearing because of “anger” over the 2020 letter which he submitted to parliament requesting an investigation in Mkhwebane and financial mismanagement at the Chapter 9 institution.

Read the judgment: “The disciplinary action against the applicant is a clear demonstration of anger. Anger at the applicant’s request to Modise on 11 February 2020 and the contents of his affidavit. The charges have no basis in law and fact.

“The desperation the respondent [Mkhwebane] showed by charging the applicant [Samuel] with incitement is contrary to and flies in the [face of] one of its guiding principles as contained in its Disciplinary Management Policy and Procedure, which is to not discipline in anger.”

Motshekga further ordered that Samuel be reinstated by no later than July 4 2022 and said he should receive backpay of R1.5-million.

On Wednesday Samuels corroborated the first witness Teboho Kekana’s testimony that Mkhwebane had been fiddling with reports to protect politicians.

Samuels specifically shone the light on the Vrede Dairy Farm scandal, revealing that former Free State premier Ace Magashule and former agriculture MEC Mosebenzi Zwane were implicated in the investigations.

He said he made the findings that Magashule and Zwane were culpable and had to be held liable because they had overall responsibility, noting that the duo would not respond to the investigators no matter how much they tried to get hold of them.

Samuel further testified that Mkhwebane would also not allow them to issue subpoenas for the two politicians to account for their misconduct.

He said that she instructed him not to make findings against politicians who had to account for the Vrede Dairy Farm crimes.

Also read: Samuel back on the stand in Mkhwebane’s impeachment inquiry

Mkhwebane’s impeachment inquiry resumes on Wednesday

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