Department contradicts HOD

SUSPENDED: Nelisiwe Lindiwe Sithole. Pic. Elijar Mushiana. 11/10/2007. © Sowetan.
SUSPENDED: Nelisiwe Lindiwe Sithole. Pic. Elijar Mushiana. 11/10/2007. © Sowetan.

Frank Maponya

Frank Maponya

The Limpopo department of agriculture yesterday refuted claims that one of the two officials suspended on allegations of being illegal immigrants was reporting for work.

The comments were attributed to the department's head, Bigman Maloa.

It was alleged Maloa had called Nelisiwe Lindiwe Sithole back to work despite her suspension.

Sithole, 34, who worked as a senior manager in the department's head office in Polokwane, was suspended from work in July together with Msunduza Hamilton Dlamini, 31, on allegations that they were Swazi nationals working in the country illegally.

Dlamini worked for six months as manager in Sithole's directorate until his suspension in July.

The two are alleged to have acquired South African identity documents and passports fraudulently.

They are out on R10000 bail each and will appear in the Polokwane magistrate's court on November 14 for a trial date.

The story made headlines yesterday, prompting several officials to call Sowetan's offices in Polokwane, claiming Sithole was reporting for work despite being suspended.

The sources claimed Sithole was called back to work because she was in Maloa's "good books". They also alleged that the two had been involved in an affair dating back several years while employed at a sugar cane factory in Nelspruit.

Spokesman Segoati Mahlangu dismissed the allegations as untrue.

"What we know is that at the time of her suspension, Sithole was running special projects that she had not completed.

"The department requested her to complete those projects first and since completion, she has not been assigned any new projects," explained Mahlangu.

He said to complete those projects, Sithole had to come to the office.

Mahlangu said: "As for allegations about an affair, we are not in a position to comment unless those sources substantiate their claims."

He added the department was awaiting the outcome of an investigation by the Department of Home Affairs before deciding on steps against the two officials.