Court reinstates North West agriculture official

Paul Mogotlhe, the North West agriculture official who allegedly authorised a R1,1-million government grant to himself, was reinstated this week.

Investigations into the grant continue, however.

The Mail & Guardian reported in November that in his official capacity Mogotlhe had apparently authorised the money to purchase infrastructure for his own farm.

He was put on extended leave of absence by his boss, North West agriculture minister Jan Serfontein, pending investigation of the matter.

But this week the Labour Court granted Mogotlhe’s application to be reinstated. The respondents in the matter were Serfontein and North West Premier Edna Molewa.

Judge Andre van Niekerk set aside Serfontein’s order that Mogotlhe take leave of absence while he was being investigated.
He also awarded costs to Mogotlhe.

Van Niekerk found that there was no reason why Mogotlhe should not be at work while the Auditor General was investigating allegations that he had approved the R1,1-million grant awarded to him and his family farm. The judge also said that the department should have offered him a disciplinary hearing.

‘Nowhere in the correspondence between the parties is there any allegation that the applicant’s continued presence might jeopardise any of the investigations that were proposed, nor is there any suggestion that the well-being or safety of any person would be endangered,” the judge said.

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