Fired municipal manager contests guilty decision based on 'speaking to media'

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

A sacked municipal public relations assistant manager says he won't take his sacking lying down.

Vusi Mdletshe, 31, was suspended from the Umzinyathi district municipality in Newcastle, northern KwaZulu-Natal, on September 4 for not finishing a funeral programme for the IFP mayor, Jerome Zulu.

Zulu was gunned down by unknown assailants and was buried on September 2 in Nquthu.

Mdletshe said that municipal manager Otto Kunene asked him to draft the funeral programme and later returned to make changes to the programme.

"I incorporated the changes and when Kunene brought further changes, I left because it was past my time to knock off," he said.

Kunene then called him into a disciplinary hearing.

Kunene said: "I suspended him for not fulfilling his duties. I asked him to draft a programme for the funeral, but he didn't finish it and I had to take disciplinary measures because of his unruly behaviour."

But Mdletshe took the matter up with the union and challenged the suspension. A commission was set up to look into the matter.

After four months he was found guilty and was officially fired on Monday.

Mdletshe said he would appeal after he discovered that one of the prosecutors is applying for a position within the municipality.

"How can someone, who is looking for a job in the municipality, be called to prosecute me?

"Obviously that person would find me guilty because he is paving his way in," he said.

"They found me guilty of bringing the municipality into disrepute by speaking to the media about Kunene's dictatorship, but I want that decision reversed.

"If I don't get any results I will take it further to the labour court," Mdletshe said.

Kunene said it was Mdletshe's right to appeal the decision.

"The presiding officer, who was an independent person, found him guilty on three out of five charges.

"He explained to him his rights to appeal if he was not satisfied with the decision," Kunene said.