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Cops who defended Phiyega to appeal labour court ruling

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The suspended duo Lieutenant General Nobubele Mbekela and Lieutenant General Solomon Makgale are challenging the Labour Court ruling that declared their suspensions lawful.

The two were suspended after they publicly defended Riah Phiyega, who has also been placed on suspension pending an inquiry into her fitness to hold office.

Makgale, a SAPS spokesperson, was suspended for releasing media statements defending Phiyega and misleading the portfolio committee on police.

Mbekela was suspended after she did a radio interview claiming that Phiyega was being targeted because she is a woman. They approached the court, arguing that the suspensions were unlawful and should be set aside. Judge Edwin Molahlehi however upheld the suspensions, saying the transgression was very serious.

The pair’s legal team has now written a letter to acting commissioner Lietenant General Khomotso Phahlane notifying him of their intentions to challenge the Labour Court’s ruling. The letter dated January 6 states that they have read the contents of the judgment and they are now lodging an appeal against it.

“We are in the process of preparing the relevant appeal notices and will serve and file same in due course. We are addressing this correspondence to advise you that pending the filing of our appeal, you should desist from acting on the judgment and more particularly you should not proceed holding any disciplinary action against our clients,” said the letter.

Their lawyer Lodwick Mashaba said they did not agree with the judge on certain aspects.

“He dealt with the urgency of the matter but went on to deal with the merits of the case. He was not supposed to do that,” said Mashaba.

In his judgment that was delivered on Tuesday, Molahlehi said the seriousness of the alleged offence was an important factor to consider when considering whether to suspend.

“In the present matter, [their lawyer] conceded during the debate that the allegations contained in the findings of the Portfolio Committee were serious. In light of the above I find that the applicants have failed to satisfy the requirements of a clear right to the relief sought.

“They have also failed to show that a wrong or injury was perpetrated against them by the respondent in suspending them. They have further failed to show that they have no alternative remedy but to approach this court on an urgent basis,” he said.

SAPS spokesperson Hangwani Mulaudzi would not confirm no deny whether they had received the notification.

“The disciplinary hearing is an internal matter and we reserve our right not to discuss such issues. The department will not deal with employer-employee related matters through the media,”he said.

“The SAPS will not compete with individuals or groups who have adopted a culture foreign to the SAPS of peddling matters of this nature in public aimed at taking our focus away from executing our policing mandate.” News24

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