'Lekota must spend time behind bars'

Gershwin Chuenyane

Gershwin Chuenyane

A soldier seeking reinstatement after being dismissed wants Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota to spend two weeks behind bars, unless the minister hands over an attendance register crucial to his case against dismissal.

Lekota, a second respondent in a review application to reinstate Private Brian Lamola, has failed to honour a court order demanding that he deliver a disputed attendance register by October 27.

According to court papers, the original work attendance register for the year 2003 would prove whether Lamola went absent without official leave - awol - and was subsequently fired.

Lamola has since brought an application in the Pretoria high court to have Lekota arrested for 15 days for failing to produce the register.

Both applications - the review of the register and contempt of court - will be heard on November 30.

The respondents in the matter are Lieutenant-Colonel JL Modisella, Lekota and Deputy Defence Minister Mluleki George.

Lamola was fired in July 2003 for staying away from work for 30 days between June and July.

He disagrees and alleges that the South African National Defence Force faked the register used in the review application.

He points to certain discrepancies as proof of the fraudulent register.

"The register has many pages and covers the whole year.

"I challenge the respondents to present to the court the original book. I can swear now they will not do this. We may have to compel them," Lamola says in the court papers.

Lamola states that he stayed away from work in 2002 because of illness and he was disciplined.

He was given a suspended sentence of 120 days' imprisonment and fined R1000 fine in February 2003. He paid the fine and returned to work.

He did not receive his salary for July 2003.

He was told by the human resources department that he had been discharged for going awol.

He wrote a letter to Lekota and was told he would not be reinstated because he had been found guilty. When he pointed out that he had already been punished, the SANDF changed their story and quoted a different period for his absence.

Lamola also points out that the register incorrectly showed that the entire staff of his unit were at work on weekends and on public holidays - days on which they did not work.