Durban – KwaZulu-Natal Correctional Services commissioner Mnikelwa Nxele is an embattled man – fighting for his reputation and his job.
This week Nxele took the fight to the Durban High Court in a bid to have his suspension lifted, days after he was fingered by Angelo Agrizzi, the former chief operations officer of Bosasa for being on the take.
Agrizzi alleged that Nxele received monthly bribes of R57, 500, a claim he intended challenging.
Nxele was suspended last week for allegedly not following due processes when a manager was fired in 2014. The manager was reinstated by the bargaining council in 2017 and resumed his duties last year.
Nxele was adamant that his suspension could not be justified.
According to sources close to Nxele he was disputing Agrizzi’s testimony and wanted to cross-examine him on the allegations he made against him.
“He (Nxele) is also questioning the timing of his suspension which happen to coincide with the allegations that he received bribes from Bosasa. He is angry and want to clear his name,” said one source.
The source pointed out that there were previous attempts to get rid of Nxele.
“With the change of guard at the Unions Buildings his future is definitely not certain,” said a correctional services source.
The source said correctional services workers were divided as some wanted him gone while others supported him.
James Smalberger, chief deputy commissioner of Correctional Services would be acting as KZN head until the Nxele matter was resolved.
Smalberger was formerly regional commissioner of Western Cape.
Nxele would not be drawn into commenting about the allegations, saying he was still employed by the department.
Correctional Service’s spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo, declined to comment on matter, saying it was between an employer and employee.
However, he stressed that Nxele’s suspension had nothing to do with him being implicated in the state capture commission of inquiry.
“We will wait for the process to unfold and than express our feelings once it is finalised”.