CCMA summons Eastern Cape bigwigs
A number of senior provincial politicians and top government officials have been summoned to appear before the CCMA next month to explain their alleged role in the dismissal of former Eastern Cape Development Corporation secretary (ECDC), Dalubuhle Mbelani.
Mbelani claims to have been fired from the corporation after he raised alarm about the ECDC payment of more than R22m towards Nelson Mandela’s funeral in 2013.
He claims this was done without board approval.
Senior politicians including outgoing Eastern Cape premier Phumulo Masualle, former finance deputy minister Mcebisi Jonas, current ANC provincial chair Oscar Mabuyane and former provincial finance MEC Sakhumzi Somyo, were recently served with subpoenas to appear before the CCMA in East London between June 24 and 28.
Also expected to appear before the commission is former ECDC chief executive Sithembele Mase, now an adviser to Masualle, provincial director-general and former provincial treasury head Marion Mbina-Mthembu and three former ECDC board members.
The subpoenas are dated May 2. In a CCMA subpoena seen by the Dispatch, Masualle is instructed to also provide the commission with a register and minutes of a December 6 2014 cabinet meeting which discussed the expenses paid towards Mandela’s funeral.
Mbelani on Tuesday confirmed that he had filed an affidavit on the reasons he wanted them before the commission. However, he declined to discuss the contents of his affidavit, saying he did not want to do so as that would “jeopardise the process”.
However, the Dispatch has seen the affidavits.
Mbelani, whose job included playing a legal advisory role to the ECDC board, claims he was persecuted for raising alarm about the “irregular payments” allegedly made without the approval of the board.
The ECDC has previously said Mbelani was fired after allegedly obstructing a task team reviewing his department amid the Mandela funeral scandal.
Mbelani was suspended in December 2014 and was eventually fired in July 2017 after he was found guilty during an internal disciplinary hearing on a number of charges.
They included gross insubordination, gross negligence, gross dishonesty, lack of good faith, breaching ECDC’s supply chain management policy and corruption.
Mbelani, according to CCMA documents, has also successfully applied for the recall of an ECDC witness who testified against him in the CCMA hearing when the matter commenced last July.
Mbelani said such a witness was recalled because “the strategy” adopted by his previous legal team, “has resulted in a bulk of testimony relevant and critical to this case, to be left out” and not put to the witness.
In a motivation affidavit to the CCMA, Mbelani said Masualle, who was ANC provincial chair and finance MEC at the time of Mandela’s funeral, was “critical” to his case, because “he was the person central to all the decisions regarding the Mandela funeral funds which was the genesis of the acrimonious relationship between the provincial government and the then ECDC board”.
He claims Somyo and Jonas were instrumental in the dissolvement of the then ECDC board which challenged such funeral funding, while Mabuyane was “critical” to his case because “as the former ANC provincial secretary at the time of the Mandela funeral fund decision, he was a key player in that decision-making process”.
He said Mbina-Mthembu’s testimony at the CCMA was critical as she was, as former provincial treasury head, “the central person in the authorisation of the Mandela funeral funds”.
Mbelani said Mase, who was fired by the then ECDC board over his alleged involvement in the disbursement of such funds, allegedly without the then board’s approval, “had always blamed me in public for his dismissal”.
Jonas, Somyo, Mase and Mbina-Mthembu could not be reached for comment on Tuesday, while Masualle’s spokesperson, Sizwe Kupelo, said he had checked with their legal office and his boss “has not received any subpoena relating to this matter”.
ECDC CEO Ndzondelelo Dlulani also could not be reached on Tuesday. However in an affidavit he filed to the CCMA, he said the corporation would defend such matter.
Mabuyane’s spokesperson Mvusiwekhaya Sicwetsha on Tuesday said they could not comment on the matter as they were yet to receive the subpoena...