Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

A disciplinary hearing to probe fraud allegations against suspended KwaZulu-Natal Independent Complaints Directorate head Tabisa Ralo has taken a new twist.

Sowetan has learnt that the chairperson of the disciplinary hearing, Zarina Walele, was forced to recuse herself amid allegations that she offered Ralo a R3million settlement to leave the ICD.

Ralo was suspended in February over allegations of serious misconduct.

However, ICD spokesperson Dikeledi Phiri refused to divulge details about the disciplinary hearing.

She also refused to explain why the presiding officer was removed.

"The hearing started on Monday and is still continuing. We cannot at this stage divulge any further information," Phiri said.

"We hope to finalise the case this week, after which we will inform you of the outcome.

"All other questions will also be addressed at that stage."

Meanwhile, ICD workers, many of whom support Ralo, feel the action against her is "flawed".

"The chairperson has left and a new one will be imposed. The hearing and this new development is a waste of taxpayers' money," said one staff member.

Ralo's attorney, Naren Sangham, said he was confident that the allegations against his client were invalid.

He said he has written a letter to Safety and Security Minister Nathi Mthethwa explaining the matter.

"The response was that the letter would be brought to his attention.

"I'm aware that the previous chairperson has recused herself," he said.

Sangham said his client will apply for legal representation at the disciplinary hearing.