BREAKING: Joburg ombud now to face disciplinary process

 

During another council meeting on 8 June, the Johannesburg City Council decided to initiate disciplinary processes against two suspended senior managers, including ombudsman, Advocate S’du Gumede.

The decision to start a disciplinary process and consider an independent investigative report followed after Gumede approached the Labour Court to set aside his suspension.

Read: Why you should care about the ombudsman’s suspension 

Gumede told Randburg Sun on 26 May that he would take the City to the Labour Court on 30 May after negotiations between him and the City did not reach a conclusion. “Earlier this week we met and agreed that the City would lift my suspension in council, but that did not happen,” Gumede said.

The matter was, however, postponed to 13 June, according to Gumede’s legal counsel, Jason Kent, in order to again allow council time to make a decision on his suspension.

Executive Mayor of Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba recently commented on the court case and said he would keep a close eye on it and allow the law to continue to take its course. “The disappearance of important documents and failing to disclose his interests in a company that provided services to his office to the City are some of the allegations levelled against Gumede. He, however, maintains that he does not have and never had a conflict of interest,” said Mashaba.

Although Mashaba has not made the reasons clear for the suspension, despite a Radio 702 interview where he mentioned the disappearance of a service provider within the ombudsman’s office, Mashaba said the coalition is determined to stamp out all maladministration and irregularity.

Read: EXCLUSIVE: Showdown between City and suspended ombudsman postponed 

“I would like to express my appreciation for the manner in which our coalition partners and the Economic Freedom Fighters continue to work with us on these matters of principle in order to create the fair, well administered, responsive and caring City we would all like to see.”

The African National Congress caucus leader and former City mayor, Parks Tau, said the recent decision was undermining the office for political reasons. Tau informed the council on 25 May that Gumede’s suspension would be brought to the attention of the Public Protector.

“This is interference in the office [of the ombudsman] that will destabilise it,” Tau said.

Edited by Stacey Woensdregt

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