After fighting the City for his position as ombudsman for the best part of 2017, Advocate Sdu Gumede’s disciplinary hearing will now only resume in February.
This according to his attorney, Jayson Kent from Cowan-Harper Attorneys, who has been representing Gumede in the matter. Kent said it has taken far longer than they had expected.
“We have agreed for it to continue from 6 to 9 February. Hopefully, we are able to [finalise the matter] during this time, but if not we will need to agree to further dates,” he said.
Gumede has been embroiled in a long legal battle with the City ever since he was suspended in May last year and he again faced accusations at a hearing which started on 11 December. His disciplinary hearing would have been held on 28 and 29 September last year but the City was reportedly not ready to proceed with the case since new lawyers still had to be appointed.
The City removed its legal representation in the matter shortly after the Labour Court dismissed the City’s appeal against the ruling which found that the suspension was unlawful.
During the 29 November council sitting, the 2017/18 first quarter oversight report on the office of the ombudsman was adopted.
The African National Congress (ANC) said the oversight revealed that the community does not know the office and its purpose well.
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) also expressed concern over the office. They questioned the financial implications of paying both a suspended and an acting ombud a salary. The ombudsman’s office, the EFF said, should rather spend this money on working closely with people on the ground.
The City also remained silent on the matter, barring comments that Gumede will be given a fair chance to state his case during the hearing.
Gumede remains a paid employee of the City.