‘Superiors plotted to move me out’
Airforce psychologist challenges transfer
ACLINICAL psychologist has claimed in court papers that his superior at an airforce base had planned his transfer to a military base so that the same superior’s wife could replace him.
According to documents filed in the Durban High Court, Captain Jaganathan Moodley is seeking an order that his transfer be halted.
The minister of defence, the secretary for defence and the chief of the SANDF are the respondents.
Moodley, represented by Lushen Pillay Attorney, wants to return to his sickbay post at the Durban airforce base.
He is also seeking an order that Major KP Khumalo, who replaced him and is also the wife of his superior, Major RT Khumalo, be directed to return to the military base.
The court has not sanctioned the order. Instead it ordered the respondents to file their answering affidavits by September 18. That had apparently not been done at the time of publication.
The matter was back on the roll on Monday and was adjourned to October.
According to court papers, the authorities have until today (Wednesday) to either terminate or renew Moodley’s second service contract of three years. The contract expires today.
Moodley claimed in court papers that he was not consulted about his switch from the sickbay to the military base and replacement by Khumalo.
He said he had been involved in an “altercation” with a Captain N Ndawonde before the transfer, but that it had been blown out of proportion.
Moodley said his superior and other senior members of the airforce and the defence force had believed Ndawonde’s version that he (Moodley) had assaulted him, and had rejected his explanation that Ndawonde had fabricated his version.
“I did not assault Ndawonde. There was only a verbal altercation between him and me. It happened after Ndawonde accused me of disappearing from work. After he told me so, I told him that he often disappeared. I then went into his office and signed the movement register, which records the movements of officers,” claimed Moodley.
He said he later received a call from his superior who had intimated that he had assaulted Ndawonde.
“Khumalo said Ndawonde had informed him that I had jabbed his forehead with my finger. I told Khumalo that the altercation did not happen that way and that if he desired I would see him in his office. The meeting with Khumalo did not take place. I subsequently received a letter that I was transferred from the sickbay base to the Bluff base. The letter was signed by Lt Colonel JD Horn who was acting in the absence of Colonel GT Pillay, the commanding officer.”
Moodley said he was shocked to learn that Khumalo’s wife had also been transferred.
“Horn’s letter stated that I was transferred to the Bluff base because my superior (RT Khumalo) was on leave. That differed substantially from Khumalo’s version, which alluded to the false claim that I had assaulted Ndawonde.
“I felt aggrieved. I was not given an opportunity to respond. Further, Ndawonde’s complaint against me was never investigated.”
He said Khumalo had also approached the Health Professions Council of South Africa and that the council had dismissed the complaint that he had acted unprofessionally.
“It is clear that Khumalo wants me out of the airforce and the defence force. That is because I have levelled a complaint of nepotism against him after he had his wife transferred to the sick bay base from the Bluff base. He also attacked my professional competence in a letter sent to various senior officials.
“Khumalo stated that he could not comment about the altercation I had with Ndawonde because the matter was sub judice.
“How can it be sub judice when he only took Ndawonde’s version into account? I am of the view that he used the altercation as a ploy to have his wife transferred to the sick bay base,” he said.
According to Moodley, the stance taken by his superior was not in line with regulation 8 of the grievance procedure.
“The regulation states that a member who has lodged a grievance should not be victimised directly or indirectly.”