Dr Thabo Lekalakala’s battle with the North West Provincial Government is far from over. Once again, Dr Lekalakala won another court battle and he is back at work. On Thursday, the Labour Court rulled in favour of suspended Head of the Provincial Health Department, Dr Lekalakala.
Dr Lekalakala was suspended by former Premier of the North West, Supra Mahumapelo, pending allegations levelled against him.
He reported to work after 60 days in line with chapter seven (7) of the SMS handbook.
A day after reporting to work he was placed on special leave by the Minister of Health.
He then challenged his placement on special leave to the Public Health and Social Development Sectoral Bargaining Council (PHSDSBC) which found in his favour that the special leave was deemed to be unfair.
The Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, then wrote a letter to Dr Lekalakala wherein he lifted the special leave.
The Minister further instructed Ms Jeanette Hunter, the North West Department of Health Administrator to fully implement the arbitration award, which made a determination that Dr Lekalakala be compensated for three months as a result of the unfair suspension.
The capturing of the three months’ payment as compensation for unfair suspension has been done and his placement has been lifted.
Dr Lekalakala reported to work on the 19th of November 2018, and he was subsequently placed on precautionary suspension by the Premier Job Mokgoro on 21 November 2018.
This was done because of the seriousness of the allegations and charges he is currently facing.
The North West Provincial Government says it was not aware of any labour court actions. “We wish to place it on record that we were not aware of any papers served on us to allow the Government to oppose Dr Lekalakala’s application to the Labour Court for re-instatement and therefore would be reviewing the ruling and investigating as to where exactly the notices to defend were and to whom were served”.
“Had the authorities been procedurally informed, the North West Provincial Government would have opposed and successfully defended this matter because there is just cause for the actions we took.
Firstly, both respondents; the Office of the Premier and the Department of Health, are reviewing the court order and secondly are investigating as to where exactly notices to both respondents were served.
The Labour Court ruling as well as the court order have come as a surprise to the North West Provincial Government; which did not have an opportunity, as required by law, to defend the matter.
It is worth noting that the disciplinary hearing for Dr Lekalakala proceeded on the 11 and 12 December 2018 as was scheduled.
The hearing has since been adjourned to early next year,” said Vuyi Ngesi, spokesperson for Premier Job Mokgoro.