/ 27 September 2010

Govt extends Mohlala’s leave

Govt Extends Mohlala's Leave

The communications ministry has extended the leave granted to its axed director general, Mamodupi Mohlala, an official said on Monday.

Spokesperson Tiyani Rikhotso said the ministry had “noted media reports pertaining to the ‘return’ of Ms Mamodupi Mohlala to her former position as director general of the department of communications.

“This followed an out-of-court agreement reached between the ministry and Ms Mohlala and endorsed by the Labour Court last month. According to the agreement, the ministry of public service and administration [DPSA] is to seek alternative employment for Ms Mohlala within the public service,” Rikhotso said in a statement.

He said the DPSA subsequently requested that she take a 30-day leave of absence to allow this process to unfold.

“The DPSA has further requested that the leave of absence initially granted be extended by seven days with effect from today [Monday] for it to finalise the process,” said Rikhotso.

The Sunday Independent reported on the weekend that Mohlala would be back at her desk on Monday, two months after she was dismissed by Minister Siphiwe Nyanda following an “irreparable breakdown” in their relationship.

Mohlala was reportedly not offered an equivalent position in another department, as set down in an out-of-court settlement reached last month. She had learnt that she had been appointed as an administrator in the Public Service Sectoral and Training Authority, a position lower than her current one.

‘Contrary to the court order’
She had, however, not been formally offered the position, nor had she accepted it.

“The announcement in the [government] Gazette is contrary to the [labour] court order. That is a six-month contract reporting to the higher education director general. I still have three years remaining in my contract as director general,” the Sunday Independent quoted her as saying.

Mohlala had contested the legality of her dismissal, arguing that only the president could fire a director general.

In a settlement with Nyanda, it was agreed that Mohlala would take a month’s leave, during which Public Administration Minister Richard Baloyi would find a suitable post for her in the public service, negotiate “redeployment” with her and conclude the contract before September 27.

Failing this, she would continue to work in her position as the department’s director general.

Mohlala reportedly said anyone who tried to stop her from returning to work would be in contempt of court.

She has rejected a R2,9-million golden handshake.

Harold Wesso is currently acting as director general. — Sapa