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Home Affairs DG Apleni welcomed back following court ruling

The court ruled on Wednesday that former Home Affairs Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize had no authority to suspend the DG in the first place, ruling it unconstitutional.

FILE: Home Affairs Director-General Mkuseli Apleni. Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - The Home Affairs Department says that its Director-General Mkuseli Apleni received a warm welcome from his colleagues on Thursday morning following his court victory nullifying his suspension.

Former Home Affairs Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize suspended Apleni last month. He challenged this in the High Court in Pretoria.

The court ruled on Wednesday that Mkhize had no authority to suspend the DG in the first place, ruling it unconstitutional.

The High Court found that Mkhize had no lawful authority to suspend Apleni because she relied on a flawed delegation issued by former President Thabo Mbeki almost a decade ago.

The former minister suspended him in September on grounds of gross misconduct, but he says that she wanted him out of the way in order to reach questionable deals in disputes involving the department.

Apleni argued that only the president has the authority to suspend and discipline a director-general.

Mkhize hit back by relying on a letter Mbeki wrote back in 2009 in which he delegated certain powers, such as appointments and deployments, to ministers in terms of the Public Service Act.

Judge Hans Fabricius found that Mbeki’s letter did not comply with the Constitution, meaning that it was not a lawful delegation.

He further found that the delegation would be ineffective because there are no such provisions in the Public Service Act.

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