Attempts by Dr Sibongile Zungu, the former head of the KwaZuluNatal Health Department, to ‘retain’ that position have been dealt another blow as the Labour Appeal Court dismissed her application to overturn the Labour Court’s previous ruling. The Appeal Court upheld the decision, ruling that the matter fell out of its jurisdiction and belonged in the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration.
Judgment was handed down after arguments were heard last year.
Zungu’s contract expired on 31 March, 2015. She took the provincial government to court demanding she be re-appointed.
In his judgment, Judge Roland Terence Sutherland said “the decision of the Labour Court to disavow jurisdiction was correct. Moreover, it is manifest that proof of a clear right necessary for a final interdict is absent. The appeal must be dismissed. The Labour Court ordered costs against the appellant, and it is appropriate that the costs of appeal also be payable by the appellant.”
The report says several attempts to speak to Zungu were unsuccessful.
Zungu approached the Labour Court in 2015 seeking an interdict against the department, preventing it from appointing someone else. She claimed unfair dismissal as she had “reasonable expectations” that her fixed five-year contract from 1 August, 2009, to 31 July, 2014 would be renewed. Short-term extensions had been made, the last of which expired on 31 March, 2015.
A spokesperson for the premier’s office said comment could only be made once judgment had been read.The Mercury report (subscription needed)