Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Fawu fires deputy general secretary. Again.

The Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu) has fired its deputy general secretary, Moloko Phakedi, a week after the labour court dismissed his attempt to halt a disciplinary hearing against him.

Phakedi, who is also the deputy general secretary of the South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu), was dismissed with immediate effect on June 19 after being found guilty of gross misconduct by the hearing.

Phakedi and former general secretary Katishi Masemola, who was also dismissed by the union, have been involved in a battle in the union and in the labour court with a rival faction headed by its president, Atwell Nazo, and its deputy general secretary, Mayoyo Mngomezulu, since 2017.

Fawu is the second largest affiliate of Saftu, which was founded by unions that broke away from the Congress of South African Trade Union (Cosatu) in 2017. Phakedi was elected as Saftu’s first deputy general secretary, with Fawu agreeing to pay his salary until the newly launched federation had the capacity to do so.

But Phakedi has tried to retain his post at the affiliate as well as his federation post, sparking a backlash from the union’s other national office bearers.

Masemola, who was dismissed by Fawu last year, is also the subject of a forensic inquiry into the write-off of nearly R20-million by the union’s investment arm, Basebenzi Investment Group, where he acted as chief executive for nearly a decade. 

Phakedi was charged with gross misconduct for “unlawfully holding out” to be the deputy general secretary of Fawu after having taken up the Saftu post and for entering into an agreement with Masemola and reinstating him as general secretary.

Phakedi was also charged with unlawfully suspending and dismissing Mngomezulu; for irregularly signing off on payments for his salary after he had earlier been suspended; and for “openly defying” the elected leadership of the union.

Nazo told Mail & Guardian on Monday that Phakedi had been dismissed after the outcome of the disciplinary hearing, chaired by Nazeer Cassim SC.

In his findings, Cassim recommended summary dismissal of Phakedi, who had “‘misconstrued himself in serious respects”.

Cassim found that Phakedi had unlawfully contacted the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) without authority to effect a settlement between Masemola and Fawu, a move he found to be “sinister”.

Nazo said the union now saw the matter as closed.

“It is up to him what he does, whether he accepts or he goes to the CCMA or the labour court,” Nazo said.

Nazo said Masemola “‘remains dismissed by Fawu” and that the forensic investigation into the Basebenzi write-off would continue.

Fawu, he said, was “united” and would go ahead with an elective congress once the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions were relaxed.

“Congress has to take place. The only snag we have now is the Covid thing. It has been a stumbling block to a number of meetings we need to hold towards congress,” Nazo said.

Phakedi said he was consulting lawyers to look at the best way to challenge the decision.

Subscribe to the M&G

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them.

Paddy Harper
Paddy Harper
Storyteller.

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

Life Esidimeni inquest postponed until August 30

The lawyer for the bereaved families argued that Dr Makgabo Manamela’s requests for postponements have a negative impact on the families of the deceased who seek closure

RECAP: Mbeki tells ANC that land without compensation goes against...

‘This would be a very serious disincentive to investment,’ says Thabo Mbeki in a document arguing that the ANC should not proceed with the Constitutional amendment of section 25

More top stories

How to apply for the Covid-19 R350 grant

Asylum seekers with valid permits and caregivers will now also be allowed to apply for the reinstituted social relief of distress grant

IEC publishes 27 October election date as required by law,...

A report by former deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke opens the possibility of a postponement

Serame Taukobong appointed as Telkom’s chief executive designate

The telecommunication group’s current chief executive, Sipho Maseko, will step down at the end of June 2022

Zambia should commit to tackling toxic lead mine’s legacy

Residents of Kabwe have been poisoned for decades and now UN experts have called for an urgent clean-up
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×