Union boss in cit­i­zen­ship row

Zim na­tional faces de­por­ta­tion

Pretoria News Weekend - - NEWS - RAPULA MOAT­SHE Gift Nd­wandwe

GAUT­ENG sec­re­tary for the SA Trans­port and Al­lied Work­ers Union (Satawu), Gift Nd­wandwe, has al­legedly gone to ground fol­low­ing shock­ing news that he fraud­u­lently ob­tained a South African cit­i­zen­ship.

An in­ves­ti­ga­tion car­ried out by the Depart­ment of Home Af­fairs into the le­gal­ity of Nd­wandwe’s cit­i­zen sta­tus re­vealed that he was a Zim­bab­wean na­tional.

Yes­ter­day, it was still not clear whether the depart­ment im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cials had al­ready de­ported him to his home coun­try.

The out­come of a probe into Nd­wandwe’s cit­i­zen­ship sta­tus was com­mu­ni­cated to the union’s of­fices in Braam­fontein on Wed­nes­day.

This week, some union col­leagues said they were in the dark about Nd­wandwe’s where­abouts, say­ing he had not been seen at work since the news re­gard­ing his il­le­gal stay in the coun­try was made known.

At­tempts by the Pre­to­ria News to con­tact him were un­suc­cess­ful as his cell­phone was switched off.

A union leader, who didn’t want to be iden­ti­fied, said a meet­ing would be con­vened by Mon­day to dis­cuss the im­pli­ca­tions of Nd­wandwe’s dis­ap­pear­ance.

Ac­cord­ing to an insider, the meet­ing would first be held by pro­vin­cial ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee mem­bers.

The con­tact said another meet­ing was ex­pected to be ini­ti­ated by lead­ers at the na­tional of­fice to give di­rec­tion on how the mat­ter should be han­dled.

Na­tional union deputy gen­eral sec­re­tary Zacharia Mosothoane down­played claims re­gard­ing Nd­wandwe’s al­leged dis­ap­pear­ance. Mosothoane said he had not per­son­ally tried to con­tact him since he’d learnt about the mat­ter.

He promised to as­cer­tain his where­abouts yes­ter­day when he vis­ited the Braam­fontein of­fice.

“I haven’t checked on him, but I’ll be go­ing to the pro­vin­cial of­fice about what is hap­pen­ing there,” he said.

The let­ter sent to the union de­scribed Nd­wandwe as “a pro­hib­ited per­son”, who didn’t “qual­ify for a visa, ad­mis­sion into the Re­pub­lic, a tem­po­rary res­i­dence or a per­ma­nent res­i­dence per­mit”.

In terms of the let­ter, the depart­ment un­der­took to de­port him to his coun­try of ori­gin. Union lead­ers were in­structed by Home Af­fairs to ter­mi­nate Nd­wandwe’s con­tract with im­me­di­ate ef­fect.

At­tempts to get com­ment from the depart­ment’s spokesper­son, Thabo Mok­goba, about whether the de­por­ta­tion had al­ready taken place or not drew a blank.

In 2015, Nd­wandwe was elected as the union sec­re­tary fol­low­ing the cold-blooded killing of former sec­re­tary Chris Nkosi, who was shot in Ger­mis­ton.

Nd­wandwe’s as­cen­sion to the union’s higher rank was con­cluded amid much dis­plea­sure from some party mem­bers, who ques­tioned his abil­i­ties to grasp union is­sues.

The con­tro­versy sur­round­ing his le­gal sta­tus in the coun­try emerged three months af­ter the na­tional union’s gen­eral sec­re­tary, Zenzo Mahlangu, was de­ported to Zim­babwe for be­ing in the coun­try with­out nec­es­sary per­mits.

Nd­wandwe used to be Mahlangu’s body­guard and head of union se­cu­rity be­fore he was elected sec­re­tary.

Mosothoane con­firmed hav­ing re­ceived a let­ter from Home Af­fairs, but he said it was short on de­tails.

He said the union would get in touch with the depart­ment with a view to glean more in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing its in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Mosothoane de­clined to com­ment about is­sues be­tween him as an in­di­vid­ual and the depart­ment, say­ing he be­lieved “it is a le­gal mat­ter”.

How­ever, he said the union lead­ers wouldn’t ig­nore the mat­ter at all.

“I have brought the union le­gal depart­ment on board to look at it from the le­gal per­spec­tive.”

He said the le­gal team would ex­am­ine the im­pli­ca­tions of the lat­est in­ves­ti­ga­tion devel­op­ment, tak­ing into con­sid­er­a­tion the im­mi­gra­tion and labour acts.

“We need to in­ves­ti­gate be­fore our de­ci­sion, and af­ter our in­ves­ti­ga­tion we will def­i­nitely make an ap­pro­pri­ate de­ci­sion. We will also seek an ex­pla­na­tion from him,” Mosothoane said.

Ac­cord­ing to him, Home Af­fairs’ de­ci­sion had po­lit­i­cal im­pli­ca­tions for the union.

To ad­dress the im­pli­ca­tions, he said the pro­vin­cial struc­ture would have to meet and look at the mat­ter be­cause “Nd­wandwe was elected at the Satawu con­fer­ence”.

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