Reports suggesting that President Jacob Zuma supported the suspension of the Director-General of the Department of Home Affairs‚ Mkuseli Apleni‚ were incorrect‚ the Presidency said on Thursday.
Apleni filed an urgent application with the Pretoria High Court on September 26 challenging his suspension by home affairs minister Hlengiwe Mkhize.
The matter is due to be heard on October 17.
The president was cited as the respondent in Apleni’s application.
Apleni’s basis for the relief sought was that the minister had no power to suspend him.
Apleni said section 12(1) of the Public Service Act provided that the appointment and other career incidents of the heads of department shall be dealt with by the president.
Presidential spokesman Bongani Ngqulunga said Zuma‚ through his director-general Cassius Lubisi‚ filed an affidavit clarifying the president’s view on the matter.
Ngqulunga said the president made it clear in his affidavit that he had no intention of dealing with the merits of the allegations of misconduct levelled against Apleni as they were not within his personal knowledge.
“The President’s affidavit focused primarily on clarifying whether the Minister of Home Affairs had the requisite authority to suspend Mr Apleni.”
Ngqulunga said the president’s position was that the minister was delegated the powers to suspend her director-general. The president said this was apparent from Chapter 8 of the Senior Management Service Handbook of 2003.
“It is therefore grossly inaccurate to report this clarification of the powers of the Minister as the President’s support for the suspension‚” Ngqulunga said.