[EXCLUSIVE] Suspended COJ ombudsman hits back

 

Suspended ombudsman for the City of Johannesburg, Advocate Sdu Gumede has filed an urgent application in the Labour Court seeking to set aside his suspension on grounds that it is unlawful.

In his founding affidavit for the urgent application, Gumede highlights that he believes that his suspension is simply an abuse of power intended to unsettle and intimidate him.

Read: Ombudsman will fight his suspension in Labour Court

“Those accusing me of misconduct have yet to produce any evidence to support allegations of misconduct. I, on the other hand, have provided all information at my disposal to show my innocence of all allegations levelled against me. The information shows that there is no substance to the allegations of dishonesty or misconduct that led to the suspension. My suspension is, therefore, unlawful and unfair,” reads Gumede’s affidavit.

Gumede was suspended on 9 May and according to an internal communication that was sent to City of Joburg staff on 11 May, Gumede and the group executive director for Group and Shared Services, Molaodi Khutsoane were suspended following a tip-off.

Gumede, however, maintains that his suspension is unlawful. Among other things, he mentioned that the notices of intention and of suspension were in terms of regulations that do not apply to him (his position).

“My appointment is not in terms of the quoted provisions of the Systems Act or its regulations but in terms of the Ombudsman Bylaw of Council.” He also mentions that according to his knowledge, there is no evidence supporting the allegations of misconduct and that there are no reasons justifying his suspension.

Read: #ICYMI: Former secretary shuffled to Joburg’s ombud

In his affidavit, Gumede further outlines that it is irrational in the absence of justifiable allegations of serious misconduct and in the absence of justifiable reasons for keeping him away from his post. “I do not occupy an ordinary post. It is a statutory post. It is independent. The Council must make out a prima facie case to support the allegations of misconduct and justify my removal from my post. It cannot be arbitrary,” reads his affidavit.

Gumede also mentioned that his suspension notices don’t provide reasons for his suspension as the regulations require.

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