Mkuseli Apleni heads to court to challenge suspension

Apleni was placed on precautionary suspension by Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize last week, giving no reasons for her decision.

FILE: Suspended Home Affairs DG Mkuseli Apleni. Picture: Department of Home Affairs Flickr account.

JOHANNESBURG - Suspended Home Affairs director general Mkuseli Apleni has filed urgent court papers in the High Court in Pretoria challenging his suspension.

Apleni was placed on precautionary suspension by Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize last week, giving no reasons for her decision.

Apleni has cited a number of reasons for his suspension, which include the VVIP fireblade terminal at OR Tambo International Airport owned by the Oppenheimer family.

He apparently failed to provide a detailed briefing to the minister.

In court papers, the suspended director general slams Mkhize for the sanction, saying he views the action as unconstitutional and invalid.

Other charges levelled against Apleni include the apparent failure to provide effective leadership during negotiations with unions, which has led to the collapse of talks between the workers and the Home Affairs Department.

He's also being accused of failing to arrange regular meetings between the minister and seniors and keeping the minister abreast of government's political programmes.

Apleni says Mkhize lacks authority to suspend him as director general, as he was not appointed by her but by President Jacob Zuma.

The suspended DG has accused Mkhize of not acting within the law and of abusing her powers.

In the court papers, Apleni argues that Mkhize's son is using his relationship with his mother to bypass legal processes.

Apleni says each of these grounds, provided for his suspension, simply don't stand scrutiny.

He says he believes his sanction is illegal and was influenced by ulterior motives.

Apleni has asked for the matter to be heard in October.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)