The High Court in Pretoria will on Tuesday hear the urgent application by former director-general of the home affairs department, Mkuseli Apleni, for a declaration that his suspension from his duties by the home affairs minister was unconstitutional and invalid.
On September 18, the department announced Apleni had been placed on “precautionary suspension” with immediate effect.
In court papers, Apleni claims his suspension was related to a request by Home Affairs Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize for him to settle a number of cases against the department, including one involving her son’s company, as well as another worth R300 million.
He argues the process followed in suspending him was procedurally unfair and that only President Jacob Zuma can suspend him in terms of the Public Service Act.
In a responding affidavit, the director-general in the Presidency, Cassius Lubisi, stated that Apleni had “misconstrued the jurisdictional facts” dealing with suspensions in the Senior Management Service (SMS) Handbook, TimesLIVE reports.
Lubisi said there was no urgency in Apleni’s application and the grounds argued were “speculative”. He said according to the SMS handbook, where the employee is alleged to have committed a serious offence‚ the minister may act against the individual.
“All [that is] required is an allegation of the commission of a serious offence. There is no requirement that the allegation be substantiated or be rational or be justifiable or be based on a justifiable reason or be fair‚” Lubisi’s affidavit reportedly reads.
Lubisi also denied Apleni’s submissions that key home affairs projects would suffer delays in his absence.
According to court papers filed on behalf of Mkhize by the acting home affairs director-general‚ Jackie McKay, the minister denied she had ulterior motives in suspending Apleni.
“It is clear that there is no reasonable basis for the views held by Apleni‚ which border‚ with respect‚ upon hysteria. In every instance‚ the applicant’s belief is based on tenuous inferences … I submit that the matter is not urgent … and the application should be struck off the roll,” McKay’s affidavit reportedly reads.
– Additional reporting African News Agency