Fri, 25 Sep 2020

In his founding affidavit, filed with the Labour Court, Theledi set out his version of the events that led to his removal.

According to Theledi, the special NEC meeting had various items on the agenda, one of which was an item called "Security of the Eastern Cape Chairperson".

The item was proffered and it was explained that a member, who was in a leadership position, had initiated an investigation against the Eastern Cape chairperson and other NEC members.

Theledi confirmed that he was the member who initiated the investigation.

Theledi claimed that, in December 2019, he heard rumours that there would be an attempt to taint his name and entrap him.

"There was a plot by certain members in the organisation who wanted to jeopardise my name and position within the organisation and remove me from my position as general secretary," he said in the court papers.

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He said the plot was due to him holding certain views about particular internal issues, such as the Popcru president's action of effecting changes to the union's business arm and his proposed departure from the organisation.

"I was informed that there was a plot to deploy a woman who will either claim that I sexually harassed her or that I attempted to rape her, and publicise this claim immediately in order to ruin my reputation and give the organisation a reason to dismiss me for misconduct."

'Morally repugnant'

Theledi claimed he was approached by two women in February 2020 who were "deployed for this specific purpose", but that both woman had failed.

He also attached WhatsApp messages from the women to the notice of motion.

Theledi said he found the tactic distasteful and morally repugnant and reported the issue to Popcru leadership, and then unilaterally initiated an investigation into the plot.

However, he did not inform the leadership of the union that he would be investigating the matter, as he thought this would allow guilty parties to cover their tracks.

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"In order to ensure that the guilty parties are found and the investigation was not compromised, I decided not to inform the organisation of the investigation."

Theledi claimed that information of the investigation was not well received by the NEC and that the top leadership suggested he take to the podium and apologise, which he did.

However, his apology was rejected and he was given a choice to resign or be removed.

Theledi refused to resign and was subsequently removed from his position with immediate effect through a motion.

Theledi has taken the matter to court, saying that the decision was procedurally unfair and violated Popcru's constitution.

He argued that there was no investigation into his conduct, he was not afforded an opportunity to make presentations, and that there was no disciplinary hearing.

News24 attempted to reach Popcru and Cosatu for comment, which will be added once received.

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