Categories: South Africa

Suspended DG heads to court to fast track DAFF investigation

The North Gauteng High Court has dismissed an urgent interdict brought against the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) by suspended agriculture Director-General (DG), Mike Mlengana, but said that the case would be heard at a later stage.

Mlengana said he brought the interdict against DAFF on 23 November to force the department to accelerate its investigation into allegations against him.

READ Mlengana rejects DAFF’s ‘fabricated’ charges

While the judge found that there was no urgency, he did say there was merit to the case.

Mlengana, who was suspended with full pay in July, said the investigation needed to be expedited, as he wanted to return to his post and continue the work that needed to be done in the agriculture sector.

“I cannot be sitting on the outside still getting a salary for so long,” he said.

Mlengana also told Farmer’s Weekly that there was no legal basis for his suspension. Going forward, his case would also centre on the recent judgment delivered in the High Court of Pretoria, which involved suspended home affairs DG, Mkuseli Apleni.

The Court ruled that unless so delegated by the president of the country, the department minister did not have the authority to suspend a DG.

While a date had not been set for his case to be heard, Mlengana expected that it would be scheduled for early 2018.

Farmer’s Weekly recently submitted several questions to DAFF about the investigation. The department responded that as the investigation was still ongoing, no further comment was available.

There was also no indication of how long the investigation would still continue.

Ministerial spokesperson, Bomikazi Molapo, was not immediately available for comment.

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Sabrina Dean

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