Fired worker hits back at health office

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

The Department of Health in KwaZulu-Natal is involved in a legal wrangle over the dismissal of a long-serving employee.

Mandla Mathaba, 40, was contracted to the department for 10 years, nine of which he served under former provincial health MEC Zweli Mkhize.

This week Mathaba's legal team gave the department and the premier's office 48 hours to resolve the situation or face court action.

Department spokesman Leon Mbangwa confirmed that they were in possession of papers from Mathaba's lawyers.

Mathaba's dismissal comes at a time when the department is accused of being "hellbent on sacking" all staff linked to former health MEC Zweli Mkhize.

Fingers have been pointed directly at director-general Busi Nyembezi, said to be acting on the instructions of new health MEC Peggy Nkonyeni.

"I was transferred to the eThekwini regional health division," Mathaba said.

"I was told they were deploying me there as a public relations officer. I had refused to sign a six-month contract because they had cut my salary by half. Then my services were terminated."

Nyembezi said: "We asked him to apply for a vacant post in the department before his contract was terminated.

"In the meantime, he was given another job, but he refused to sign the contract," she said.

She also accused Mathaba of bombarding her with "rude" letters demanding a response.