Nkandla ‘fall guy’ told: ‘Leave your sick bed and attend disciplinary’
The disciplinary hearing of one of the Nkandla “fall guys” got off to a shaky start when he failed to appear at a hearing on Monday.
Sibusiso Chonco was the first of 10 public works officials to face internal disciplinary proceedings for allegedly flouting tender processes that saw controversial architect Minenhle Makhanya award the contract for upgrades at President Jacob Zuma’s R246-million Nkandla home.
The hearing was set down for Monday and Tuesday. However he failed to pitch at the hearings convened at the Public Works office in central Durban and chaired by Adv Thulani Khuzwayo.
The national department of public works said it was not in possession of Chonco’s sick note and thus unaware of his sick leave. However Chonco’s legal representative Adrian Moodley arrived at the hearing with the note. He said he was not aware that his client was ill until last Wednesday.
Adv Clement Kulati‚ Public Works’ representative‚ said after reading the sick note it was clear that the doctor was only excusing Chonco from work but not the hearing.
He added that the doctor “did not seem convinced” that Chonco should be away from work as the doctor wrote that the note was not to be used for court purposes.
“His absence from work shouldn’t affect his hearing. The note was only for purposes of attending work‚” said Kulati.
Chonco had been booked off work from March 29 to April 29.
Kulati insisted that the process proceed without Chonco‚ but later backed down.
“We may never have this hearing at all‚ it bothers me a lot we can sit here and accept this without any proper qualification. So he says he cannot attend? What is it that we need to do? What do you suggest? I really would like to see him come tomorrow‚” said Khuzwayo.
Moodley said he would have to go to Chonco’s doctor to get clarity on the medical certificate he issued and revert by Tuesday.
However‚ Kulati warned that it was a futile exercise as Chonco’s doctor would not entertain Moodley due to doctor-patient privilege.
“He will therefore require the employee to come with him to the doctor because the doctor may not release anything without the patient. And which then proves that the employee is not as sick as not to attend the disciplinary hearing‚” said Kulati.
Khuzwayo adjourned the hearing until Tuesday and demanded that Moodley appear with his client.
Khuzwayo said Chonco will have to leave his sick bed and present himself before a disciplinary hearing‚ where he is accused of wrongdoing in the awarding of the contract for upgrades to President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla homestead.
After an hour-long debate – which included Moodley being ordered to leave the meeting to phone Chonco and tell him to appear on Tuesday – Khuzwayo adjourned the hearing until Tuesday.
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