Two high-ranking, fraud-accused officials in the KwaZulu-Natal premier's office are awaiting their fate as judgment has been reserved in a legal matter pertaining to their suspension.
Seeking to reverse their suspension, chief financial officer Ziphathe Cibane and supply chain manager Nonhlanhla Hlongwa approached the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg to challenge a 2020 decision to suspend them after they were implicated in fraud relating to a R24-million catering tender.
Cibane, Hlongwa and seven others were accused of circumventing procurement processes while in the employ of former premier Sihle Zikalala's office.
Cibane and Hlongwa appealed a 10 March judgment that dismissed their application with costs.
Their appeal was set down for hearing on 2 June before Judge Pieter Bezuidenhout, who reserved judgment.
The accused were arrested in July 2020 and the National Prosecuting Authority's Asset Forfeiture Unit confiscated properties estimated to be worth R23-million.
Court papers say that Cibane and Hlongwa's suspensions started on 17 January 2020 and were extended to March 2023.
The two are seeking the review of their suspension and that a report of the investigation that was carried out by Integrity Forensic Solutions be set aside; and that the premier's and director-general's offices be ordered to pay the legal costs.
The application was opposed by the premier, director-general, provincial treasury and Integrity Forensic Solutions.
Cibane and Hlongwa contended in their court presentation, through their lawyer, Advocate John Pammenter SC, that their suspension was not procedurally fair as they had been kept in the dark until 16 January 2020, while the letters of suspension were given to them on 20 January 2020.
They claimed in their initial arguments that they were also kept in the dark about the allegations and argued that the audi alteram partem rule, which allows for the other side to make representations, was not applied.