The National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] welcomes the suspension of the Director General: Department of Home Affairs, Mkuseli Apleni. He was put on suspension over insubordination by the Minister of Home Affairs, Professor Hlengiwe Mkhize.
The suspension of Mr Apleni is long overdue and as NEHAWU, we hold a strong view that it should have happened long ago. Apleni ruled the department with an iron fist and victimised workers. His suspension will give workers a much needed sigh of relief after they had to endure his unabated reign of terror.
NEHAWU as a union organising in the Department of Home Affairs has had numerous run-ins with Apleni and we have consistently pointed out to the public how bad he was for the Department. The suspended DG, Apleni lost millions in tax payers’ money on legal fees while trying to avoid paying workers for Saturday work.
Organised labour and Mr Apleni had a protracted legal battle which Apleni lost. He elected to remain intransigent when he had to pay workers for Saturday and tried to give midday day offs as a mechanism to lure workers to work on weekends. The money spent on legal fees should have been spent on paying workers, providing transport and child care facilities.
The current problems that engulf the department starts and ends with Mr Apleni and we hope his suspension will be indefinite. Apart from losing the department millions, he was also at the centre of leaving home affairs offices unguarded after he failed to renew the contract of the security service provider. This blunder could have jeopardised the safety of both workers and citizens and put them at risk of being victims to criminal elements. This controversial DG was also involved in the granting of citizenship to Gupta family members even after their previous requests were denied in the past.
The Department of Home Affairs renders very important services to the country and its citizens. Therefore, it needs to be led by people of integrity and not unprincipled people like Mr Apleni. NEHAWU will monitor the situation closely and will be on the lookout for any new developments in relation to this matter.
Issued by NEHAWU