Ex-director vows to take state to court

Sibongile Mashaba and Winkie Dibakwane

Sibongile Mashaba and Winkie Dibakwane

Former Gauteng chief director of education Thami Mali has accused the department of lying about him and says he plans on taking legal action in an apparent stand-off between himself and MEC Angie Motshekga.

Yesterday, Mali insisted that he had resigned and not been dismissed as announced by the department last Monday .

"I am hearing about my dismissal for the first time from you," he said, referring to Sowetan.

Mali said he resigned because Motshekga called him "a mafia running a police state, and a gangster".

Regarding the dismissal, Mali said: "I suspect mischief. I was not informed about my dismissal. All I know is that I resigned on May 5. How is it possible that I served them with my resignation letter and a memorandum is issued notifying all chief directors and directors about the termination of my services?"

Mali said Malele Petje, the department's head, signed his resignation letter on May 5.

It was Petje who also issued the memorandum announcing Mali's dismissal. In the memorandum, Petje said the department was involved in an investigation into various allegations levelled against Mali.

The allegations included misconduct and corruption.

He said that Motshekga had considered the findings of the report and thus decided to terminate Mali's services with effect from April 30.

Spokesman for the department, Panyaza Lesufi, said: "It is with a heavy heart that the MEC severed ties with Thami Mali. After an investigation was conducted, the MEC asked Mali to respond. After responding, she felt that the reasons were not sufficient and he was thus dismissed."

Sadtu has welcomed the "long overdue dismissal of Mali".

Sadtu's regional secretary Ronald Nyathi said: "We salute the MEC for having provided leadership in these difficult times. We are convinced that she wants to leave a legacy within the department that over time she will be proud of."

Mali's suspension came a week after the union had written a memorandum to the department requesting an investigation against him.