My leave was okayed, says ‘bunking’ brigadier
Johannesburg - Brigadier Govindsamy Mariemuthoo, the police station commander accused of bunking work, says all his days off were authorised by his bosses.
“He has never had a problem regarding absenteeism or leave,” said Mariemuthoo’s lawyer, Jose Nascimento.
“The leave that he took was at all times authorised by his superiors and substantiated by medical reports and certificates.”
Last week, The Star reported that since his appointment as the station commander of Jeppe police station in February 2014 until February this year, Mariemuthoo has been absent from work 156 days, or about 30 percent of the time, taking 70 vacation days, 64 days temporary incapacity leave and 22 days of sick leave.
This was revealed by Gauteng Community Safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane to the Gauteng legislature, in a reply to a question from the DA's Jack Bloom.
While Nkosi-Malobane said this was all in accordance with the SAPS national leave instruction, and the Jeppe station was not adversely affected, Bloom questioned the lengthy absences and said he suspected Mariemuthoo was “a serial malingerer”.
Mariemuthoo’s lawyer said he never took any unpaid leave or unauthorised leave and that most of his leave was on medical grounds that were substantiated.
“Essentially, he followed all pro-cedures, and all leave taken was approved by his superiors,” said Nascimento.
There were also questions raised about absences while he was at Benoni police station.
Nascimento denied that Mariemuthoo had been dismissed or removed from Benoni police station, saying the move had been the result of a labour dispute.
“He felt victimised by two of his superiors to the point that he initiated a grievance procedure against the SAPS.
“That grievance was not attended to and was further aggravated by the freezing of his salary, whereupon our client brought an urgent application to the Labour Court,” said Nascimento.
An out-of-court settlement was reached between Mariemuthoo and the SAPS, which included the condition he be posted to Jeppe.