Limpopo premier orders probe into official’s qualifications as labour spat deepens

Limpopo Premier Stan Mathabatha. Picture: Gallo Images/Sowetan/Sandile Ndlovu

The investigation comes after Nehawu wrote to the premier and suggested that the appointment of Michael Maseko as the head of labour relations was irregular.

Limpopo Premier Stan Mathabatha has ordered an investigation into allegations that a senior official in his office misrepresented his academic qualifications to land a lucrative post.

The investigation comes after the National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) wrote to the premier and suggested that the appointment of Michael Maseko as the head of labour relations was irregular.

The premier’s spokesperson, Willy Mosoma, said the appointment was made before Mathabatha was inaugurated as premier.

However, he added: “Even though the premier is not responsible for recruitments, appointments and [the application of the] disciplinary code of conduct [for] officials, Premier Mathabatha has since acted swiftly by directing administration to conduct investigations in line with [the] Labour Relations Act.”

Documents the union presented to Mathabatha show that the four-month course Maseko acquired could not be verified at the time of his appointment because the college had “closed down”.

The union has accused Maseko of misrepresenting his academic qualification in his curriculum vitae by stating that he has a commissioner’s diploma and that his studies included substantive law, jurisdictional rulings, conciliations, managing dismissals and arbitration.

“It turned out that Mr Maseko only attended a course in substantive law, jurisdictional rulings, conciliation, managing dismissals and arbitration 1&2 for a period spanning from 19 September 2005 to 15 February 2006 (4 months and 27 days), and this is not a diploma as alleged.

“The qualification/study verification as conducted by the office [of the premier] to confirm the diploma in labour law indicated that ‘qualification cannot be confirmed, institution closed down’.

“This simply meant that the qualification relied on for appointment was not confirmed and that the employer was not supposed to proceed [to appoint] Mr Maseko,” the union stated.

It has demanded Maseko’s resignation and wants him to pay back the money he earned.

But Maseko has accused the union of being “disingenuous” and claims that its branch officials are trying to derail charges of misconduct that he has been investigating against them.

“I find it disingenuous because the union declared a dispute and took the matter to CCMA and is now at an arbitration level. All the documents are there.

“I don’t understand now why they are taking the matter out of the CCMA and wrote to the premier. I can only conclude that they want to derail the investigations because I’m head of the labour relations,” Maseko said.

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