Mkhize ‘relied on flawed delegation’ in suspension of Apleni

The ruling in Pretoria allows for director-general Mkuseli Apleni to return to work after being on suspension for several weeks.

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

JOHANNESBURG - The High Court has found former Home Affairs Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize had no lawful authority to suspend director-general Mkuseli Apleni because she relied on a flawed delegation issued by former president Thabo Mbeki almost a decade ago.

The ruling in Pretoria on Wednesday allows for Apleni to return to work after being on suspension for several weeks.

The former minister suspended him in September on grounds of gross misconduct, but he says 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 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.

It’s understood Apleni intends returning to work as soon as possible.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)