The union was planning to mobilise progressive forces and other organs of civil society to put pressure on the premier to accede to its demands if he continued to disregard his oath of office.
The National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) in Limpopo has warned that Limpopo Premier Stan Mathabatha might soon find himself on the streets, if the rocky relationship he currently has with the union is anything to go by.
The call by the union comes after allegations that this week Mathabatha instructed security personnel to prevent Phuti Seloba, who is chief director of communications in the Limpopo provincial government, from entering his office.
Seloba has been on suspension since 6 November, 2018. He was back to work on Monday after the General Public Service Sector Bargaining Council lifted his suspension.
Speaking to The Citizen yesterday, Seloba confirmed that he was refused entry to the offices on Tuesday and Wednesday, in spite of having a court order to report for duty on Monday. “
When I got to the premier’s office on Monday, I received a hostile reception from those ‘hatching a plot’ for my dismissal,” he said.
“Then, the following day, some security personnel refused me entry to the premises.
“But [on Wednesday] they allowed me to enter the premises. Surprisingly, my office was locked. When I asked why, no one was willing to respond to me,” he said yesterday.
“I am now at Library Gardens [a shopping complex at the heart of the city of Polokwane] while I was supposed to be in the office doing my work,” he said.
This enraged Nehawu, which called on Mathabatha to shape up or ship out after he apparently disregarded the order by the bargaining council, which ruled that Seloba’s suspension was illegal and unfair, and ordering him to return to office.
“We have noticed with disappointment the action by Mathabatha to lock out the provincial government spokesperson Mr Seloba from his office,” said Nehawu Limpopo provincial secretary Jacob Adams.
“The decision to lock out Mr Seloba is unlawful and a public abuse of state power, and its continuation may lead to us approaching authorities to seek remedy on the premier’s violation of his oath of office and abuse of power.”
Adams said the union was planning to mobilise progressive forces and other organs of civil society to put pressure on the premier to accede to its demands if he continued to disregard his oath of office.
The hostile relationship between Seloba and the premier’s office started in 2018 after Mathabatha suspended Seloba for allegedly giving chairperson of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Jossey Buthane, sensitive information about him and members of his executive council.
The EFF is the official opposition in the Limpopo Legislature.
Seloba allegedly told Buthane that Mathabatha would often miss important official meetings because he had consumed a lot of alcohol.
Yesterday, Mathabatha spokesperson, Kenny Mathivha, downplayed allegations that the premier locked out Seloba from his office and further ordered security personnel to stop him from entering the Mowaneng office of the premier, where he works.
“Seloba does not report to the premier. He reports directly to the deputy director-general. The premier does not even know or have the keys to Seloba’s office. So it is blue lies that the premier could stoop that low to Seloba’s level to lock up his office,” said Mathivha.
“I am sure Mr Mathabatha has very pressing issues, such as service delivery matters, to deal with than locking up offices. But what we can tell you is that the Limpopo provincial government respects the order by the bargaining council,” Mathivha said.
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