Court rules suspension unconstitutional
October 26, 2017
Pretoria, South Africa: The Pretoria High Court ruled that the suspension of the Director-General of Home Affairs, Mkuseli Apleni, was unconstitutional.
Apleni turned to the court after he was suspended by former Home Affairs Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize on September 18.
Mkhize was replaced by Ayanda Dlodlo during the recent cabinet re-shuffle. However, the ministry indicated that the re-shuffle did not impact on the court proceedings.
He asked the court to declare that the former Minister of Home Affairs Minister did not have the authority to suspend him.
High Court Judge Hans Fabricius ruled on Wednesday that the minister’s decision was unconstitutional and that Mkhize lacked the authority to suspend Apleni.
Justice Fabricius declared his suspension unlawful and set it aside. The minister has been ordered to pay the costs.
Apleni has been in the spotlight for allegedly fast tracking citizenship for the Gupta family in 2015.
Apleni’s counsel argued in court that according to the Public Service Act‚ only the president‚ as the executive authority‚ had the power to suspend Apleni.
Public Service Act
His lawyer‚ William Mokhari said the senior management service booklet made it clear that the source of power in the appointment of heads of departments was the Public Service Act.
Mokhari argued that the suspension was unlawful‚ and should be set aside.
The Public Service Act stipulates that the minister can suspend or dismiss a head of department only if the president has delegated the powers.
Judge Fabricius ordered that the Minister of Home Affairs lacked the authority to suspend Apleni.
“The suspension is unconstitutional, and of no force or effect,” Judge Fabricius ordered.
He set the suspension aside and ordered that the minister pay the cost of the application.
Home Affairs Minister Dlodlo has welcomed the outcome of the North Gauteng High Court judgment.
“The Minister has welcomed the Director General back to his post at the department,” Home Affairs said in a statement.