‘Fraser vs Nxele’ heads back to court

The Covid-19 virus pandemic has been unable to stop the ongoing war between suspended KwaZulu-Natal prisons commissioner Mnikelwa Nxele and the head of the correctional services department Arthur Fraser.

Fraser has refused to accept a recent Labour Court ruling setting aside the dismissal of Nxele, who he fired last August, after a two-year court battle between the two.

Despite appearing to have initially accepted the Labour Court judgment, delivered on April 17, Fraser has now done an about-turn and instead approached the Labour Appeal Court to set aside the labour court judgment.

Both men are controversial figures.

Fraser, a former director of the State Security Agency (SSA), has been at loggerheads with Nxele since taking up the corrections post in April 2018. Fraser was axed from state security by President Cyril Ramaphosa and has since

been implicated in allegations of massive corruption at the intelligence agency.

The report of the high-level panel on the SSA, published in December 2018, set aside Fraser’s strategic development plan initiated at the SSA, saying it had disastrous consequences for the agency.

Nxele was implicated at the state capture commission by former Bosasa boss Angelo Agrizzi as having received bribes of R57500 a month from the company, as service provider to the correctional services department. Agrizzi also claimed Nxele was part of the plan to oust former prisons commissioner Vernie Petersen in 2007.

Fraser fired Nxele last August after a series of court actions. Nxele was initially suspended over the firing of a correctional services official in 2014. The official was reinstated by the bargaining council in 2017 and returned to work the following year.

Nxele was suspended and fired in August 2019 following an internal hearing. He went to the Labour Court, which ruled in his favour. But Fraser suspended Nxele again in March and appealed this ruling.


The appeal was dismissed by the Labour Court on April 17.

In the judgment, Judge Benita Whitcher found that the suspension of Nxele was invalid as the correct procedures in terms of the correctional services department’s disciplinary code had not been followed by Fraser.

As a result, Nxele’s rights had been violated and the decision was invalid.

In a terse, one-line memorandum to correctional services staff on April 21, Fraser said that “the court” had reinstated Nxele.

But two days later, in another memorandum to staff, Fraser said the department had petitioned

the Labour Appeal Court to appeal the order reinstating Nxele as KwaZulu-Natal regional commissioner.

“Therefore, Mr Nxele remains on suspension,” Fraser said.

Correctional services spokesperson Sibongakonke Nxumalo confirmed that Nxele “remains suspended” and said the matter would go to court on May 5.

“We are unable to comment further as the issue is internal in nature,” he said.

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Paddy Harper
Paddy Harper
Storyteller.
Advertising

Coalition politics and law: The fight over Tshwane

With coalition politics on the rise, particularly in local government, this kind of court case is likely to become more common

High court declares Dudu Myeni delinquent

Disgraced former SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni has been declared a delinquent director by the...

SANDF inquiry clears soldiers of the death of Collins Khosa

The board of inquiry also found that it was Khosa and his brother-in-law Thabiso Muvhango who caused the altercation with the defence force members

No back to school for teachers just yet

Last week the basic education minister was adamant that teachers will return to school on May 25, but some provinces say not all Covid-19 measures are in place to prevent its spread
Advertising

Press Releases

Road to recovery for the tourism sector: The South African perspective

The best-case scenario is that South Africa's tourism sector’s recovery will only begin in earnest towards the end of this year

What Africa can learn from Cuba in combating the Covid-19 pandemic

Africa should abandon the neoliberal path to be able to deal with Covid-19 and other health system challenges likely to emerge in future

Coexisting with Covid-19: Saving lives and the economy in India

A staggered exit from the lockdown accompanied by stepped-up testing to cover every district is necessary for India right now

Covid-19: Eased lockdown and rule of law Webinar

If you are arrested and fined in lockdown, you do get a criminal record if you pay the admission of guilt fine

Covid-19 and Frontline Workers

Who is caring for the healthcare workers? 'Working together is how we are going to get through this. It’s not just a marathon, it’s a relay'.

PPS webinar Part 2: Small business, big risk

The risks that businesses face and how they can be dealt with are something all business owners should be well acquainted with

Call for applications for the position of GCRO executive director

The Gauteng City-Region Observatory is seeking to appoint a high-calibre researcher and manager to be the executive director and to lead it

DriveRisk stays safe with high-tech thermal camera solution

Itec Evolve installed the screening device within a few days to help the driver behaviour company become compliant with health and safety regulations

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday