GEORGE NEWS - George no longer has a traffic chief.
Donovan Saptoe, who was suspended nearly 14 months ago, has finally been dismissed following the outcome of a disciplinary hearing on Tuesday 1 December.
Saptoe was not present at the hearing. "I was unwell and presented a doctor's letter," said Saptoe. "I can only confirm that I was tried in my absence and convicted. The case will have to be continued on arbitration so that we can test the validity of this decision."
Saptoe has 30 calendar days to lodge a dispute with the South African Local Government Bargaining Council.
Municipal spokesperson Chantel Edwards-Klose said no comment will be provided on staff-related matters relating to disciplinary procedures. Richard von Willingh is currently the acting traffic manager.
Saptoe was found guilty on three charges.
- Charge one relates to gross dereliction of duty, for not attending a number of meetings he was obliged to attend in his official capacity.
- Charge two relates to gross insubordination in that he disobeyed lawful instructions from Erasmus (Director of Community Safety) and showed him disrespect.
- Charge three relates to an affidavit alleging fraudulent activities in regard to a taxi permit that Saptoe filed under oath in his official capacity, without informing his employer.
Just before Christmas Saptoe said it is very unfortunate that the municipality, under the leadership of Steven Erasmus as the acting municipal manager, had to dismiss him - in his absence - just before Christmas. "Various complaints laid by myself against Erasmus amounted to nothing. The current mayor was aware of the situation then, and is aware of the situation now. A complaint was also lodged with MEC Anton Bredell, who warned the former municipal manager, Trevor Botha, about the continued victimisation of myself and others who participated in the section 106 investigation." The 106 investigation refers to the War on Waste project, in which both Botha and former George mayor Melvin Naik are implicated and criminally prosecuted.
"I have always maintained a clean disciplinary record. How is it possible after more than a year on suspension, that I am suddenly dismissed in my absence? I will wait patiently for the right platform to state my case," said Saptoe.
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