Bungle that delayed Ramaphosa in Harare earns official a recall to SA

Bungle that delayed Ramaphosa in Harare earns official a recall to SA

A home affairs official accused of “serious misconduct” for an embarrassing diplomatic travel bungle that delayed a delegation led by President Cyril Ramaphosa in Zimbabwe has failed to convince the labour court he should not be recalled to face the music.

Castro Mlaba is employed by the department of home affairs as first secretary: immigration and civic services in Harare. His duties include travel arrangements and diplomatic processing of South African dignitaries visiting the country.

But things went awry on September 4 when Ramaphosa attended the inauguration of Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa and was delayed, with his entourage, for “over an hour” at Harare International Airport. The knock-on effect then delayed the departure from the airport of the president of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“As far the department was concerned, this failure … constituted serious misconduct and brought the Republic of South Africa into disrepute,” read a ruling handed down by the Johannesburg labour court.

Mlaba initially said he felt “embarrassed, scared and unprofessional” about the incident but dropped his conciliatory approach and went on the offensive when the department rejected his representations and insisted he return home by October 13 to face a disciplinary hearing.

He then took home affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi and the department’s director-general to the labour court, arguing that “the misconduct allegation [against] him must first be proven in a hearing” and “equated the recall to a termination of contract, and contended that such termination was not based on any legislative provision”.

Mlaba complained that the recall was too harsh a sanction because he would be forfeiting the benefits he would have earned during his stint in a foreign mission.

Source: https://www.timeslive.co.za/sunday-times-daily/news/2023-10-17-bungle-that-delayed-ramaphosa-in-harare-earns-official-a-recall-to-sa/