President Zuma's position on Apleni's suspension clarified

Friday, October 6, 2017

The Presidency says media reports suggesting that President Jacob Zuma supports the suspension of the Director General of the Department of Home Affairs, Mkuseli Apleni, are incorrect.

Apleni filed an urgent application with the High Court of South Africa, Gauteng Division, Pretoria on Tuesday. The order sought to declare his suspension by the Minister of Home Affairs, Hlengiwe Mkhize, invalid. The Minister suspended him last month on grounds of alleged gross misconduct.

Apleni’s alleged basis for the relief sought is that the Minister acted outside of her authority and had no power to suspend him, given that section 12(1) of the Public Service Act provides that the appointment and other career incidents of the Heads of Department in the case of National Departments shall be dealt with by the President.

President Zuma and Minister Mhize were cited as the two respondents in Apleni’s application.

The Presidency said President Zuma filed an answering affidavit in which he made it clear that he has no intention of dealing with the merits of the allegations of misconduct levelled against Apleni, as these are not within his personal knowledge.

The President's affidavit focused primarily on clarifying whether the Minister of Home Affairs had the requisite authority to suspend Apleni.

“The President's position with regard to this question is that the authority was delegated to the Minister of Home Affairs. This is apparent from Chapter 8 of the Senior Management Service Handbook, 2003 ("the SMS Handbook").”

“It is therefore clear from the President's affidavit that he only seeks to clarify that the Minister was delegated the powers to suspend her Director General without going into the merits of the dispute between the Minister and Apleni,” the Presidency said.

As such, the Presidency said it is grossly inaccurate to report this clarification of the powers of the Minister as the President's support for the suspension.

The matter is set to be heard on 17 October. -

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