Ombudsman back at work ‘stabilising operations’

After being suspended on grounds of maladministration, advocate S’du Gumede took back his seat as the City of Johannesburg’s Ombudsman on 19 June.

This after a legal battle with the City that declared Gumede’s former suspension in May unlawful. Gumede was suspended after a closed council sitting early in May. The matter has since been dealt with behind closed doors.

READ: Labour Court has declared the suspension of Ombudsman unlawful 

The disappearance of important documents and failure to disclose his interests in a company that provided services to his office to the City were some of the allegations levelled against him. He, however, maintained that he did not have and never had any conflict of interest. The labour court declared his suspension unlawful on 15 June.

Back at work, Gumede told Randburg Sun he had not yet received his laptop or cellphone, which made doing his job difficult. But despite this, he said he has meetings lined up with the office’s executive team and with the rest of the employees later. Following the legal battle, he now intends to restore confidence in the office.

The ombudsman is an independent office within the City that aims to resolve disputes, especially concerning service delivery, between the municipality and residents.

“I hope this matter has now been resolved and that we can put this behind us so that we can focus on the business that needs to be done,” he said.

Gumede added that he wasn’t sure how the court’s judgement was received by the council that opted for his suspension in May.

Mayoral spokesperson Luyanda Mfeka said the City’s legal team is still studying the judgement which will determine their next course of action. He said he had not further comment at this point.

ALSO READ:

Why you should care about the ombudsman’s suspension 

 Showdown between City and suspended ombudsman postponed 

  AUTHOR
Chantelle Fourie
Metro Reporter

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