Makwetla fires senior official again

Alfred Moselakgomo

Alfred Moselakgomo

Mpumalanga Premier Thabang Makwetla has fired his deputy director of social services - again.

The move could lead to another round of court battles between the two.

It will be the third time that the premier and department of social services deputy Hussain Verachia are at cross purposes and end up in court.

Verachia won the first two rounds, with the courts ordering that he be reinstated.

Makwetla's office has confirmed that Verachia was dismissed at the end of last month.

Sources say Verachia is not happy with the latest dismissal and is preparing to go to court again.

"He argues that his contract has not expired and Makwetla has acted unlawfully," a source said.

Verachia's dismissal comes on the back of his victory after the Pretoria high court ruled in his favour twice after Makwetla had fired him.

This was after the original court file and tapes of the initial judgment disappeared and the judge was forced to repeat his findings.

He reached the same conclusion: that Verachia's dismissal was unlawful.

The court also turned down the government's application for leave to appeal.

But last week the premier's office dismissed Verachia again, saying "they had studied the judgment carefully".

"As far as the government processes are concerned we have fully complied with the court order on how to resolve the issue," said Makwetla's spokesman, Ntime Skhosana.

"Any matter outside the court is a new issue," he said.

In 2006 Verachia's department was split into two, health and social services, and the post of head of department was upgraded to that of superintendent-general.

Verachia said he expected that his position would be automatically upgraded, but instead former departmental head Confidence Moloko was appointed.