In the space of about two months, the South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu) has fired two senior officials for being “illegal immigrants”.
The latest casualty is Gift Ndwandwe, who was employed by the union as its Gauteng provincial secretary.
In November last year, the executive of the central executive committee (CEC) fired Zenzo Mahlangu, who was the general secretary, after he was refused entry into South Africa for five years.
Ndwandwe was deported by the Department of Home Affairs this week while Mahlangu was deported by the immigration police in May last year.
“Satawu has terminated the contract of employment of its Gauteng secretary Gift Ndwandwe following a meeting with the CEC task team on Tuesday,” Satawu Free State provincial secretary and task team coordinator, Jack Mazibuko, said.
“Last October, Satawu received a letter from the Department of Home Affairs instructing the union to terminate Ndwandwe’s employment because he was found to have fraudulently obtained his South African Identity Document. The department said Ndwandwe was a Zimbabwean citizen who was in the country illegally and as such his employment was to be terminated.”
However, he said Ndwandwe was adamant that the department’s finding was erroneous and he informed the union that he had appealed the decision to deport him through his lawyers.
“Applying the principle of fairness, Satawu took a decision to await the finalisation of the appeal process before taking any action,” Mazibuko said.
“On becoming aware that Ndwandwe’s appeal was unsuccessful, the CEC task team, which is in charge of the union’s operations until Congress, took the final decision to relieve him of his duties with immediate effect.”
He insisted that the union did not know that the former members were illegal immigrants.
“It is not Satawu’s fault. Both former employees were previously employed at different companies. We thought they were vetted by the former security companies they used to work for before joining the union,” Mazibuko said.
He said during the next meeting of the CEC, it would be decided who would replace Ndwandwe.