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Trial over ill-health


…as Wasco directors overlook Hoohlo’s illness

Mohloai Mpesi

The Water and Sewerage Company (WASCO)’s Board of Directors has snubbed chronic illness of its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Futho Hoohlo at the expenses of his trial.

According to sources close to the matter, the Board of Directors at the rudder of the sewerage company has flouted the ailment of Hoohlo as they wanted him to appear before the intended disciplinary hearing that was supposed to be staged this week.

Hoohlo who is reported to have been admitted at Medi Clinic in Bloemfontein, South Africa this Wednesday after the board suggested the hospital, is said to be fighting for his life while his bosses persist for his return in order to be quizzed regarding his misconduct of his work.  

“They said he is not sick but the doctor which they (board of directors) suggested for him in Bloemfontein said he was critical and needed to be admitted in hospital,” the source said.

This comes after a lengthy brawl that sparkled between the Board of Directors and Hoohlo to a point where the latter was secretly probed earlier this year by the South African Quantum Advisory Service. However, since the engagement of the firm was said to have happened without following the company’s set precepts in such issues, Hoohlo had then instigated investigations of misconduct against his bosses by first reporting to the police stationed at the headquarters of the company’s premises to investigate a potentially unlawful and illegal procurement process undertaken at Wasco as was the police’s mandate in terms of the Memorandum of Understanding between the LMPS.

The squabble was initially triggered by Hoohlo’s alleged backing to the Director of Corporate Services, one Litsebe Jimson, to NACOSEC contrary to WASCO secondment policy last year July which saw him suspended for the second time a feat which he challenged at the labour court.

Hoohlo was appointed to pilot the Sewage Company on August 5, 2019.

This publication witnessed the letter signed by the Chairman of the Board of Wasco, Chabeli Ramolise that the latter should return to work as his leave draws near to its end to be grilled by the disciplinary committee.

“I am aware that your sick leave dated June 11, 2021 comes to an end on July 5, 2021 and you are accordingly advised that the disciplinary hearing against you will proceed on July 6, 2021 at 09:00 am, WASCO Boardroom. Your appointment to see a medical practitioner appointed by WASCO to determine authenticity of your infirmity or illness still stands, particularly now that you claim to have a chronic illness,” the letter reads.

On Tuesday, the lawyer representing Hoohlo, Advocate L.D Molapo filed a restraining order to barricade the continuation of the intended disciplinary hearing. In the order, Wasco’s Board of Directors and Water and Sewerage are first and second respondents respectively.    

“It is hereby ordered that the rule nisi issued returnable on July 12, 2021 calling upon the respondent to show cause, if any, why the first and second respondents shall not be interdict and or be restrained from holding disciplinary hearing against applicant on July 6, 2021 to be held at 09:00 am pending finalization of this matter.

“The rest of the prayers will be dealt with on July 12, 2021 being the return dated of the main application,” the order reads.

However, Ramolise authored another letter addressed to Hoohlo for a check-up of six-day leave to attend a medical practitioner in Bloemfontein.  

“The following sick leave notes give an impression of your ill condition, the board in its sitting resolved to invoke section 27.7 (b) of the Human Resources Regulation 2017 read with section 123 (5) of the Labour Code Order of 1992 as amended, which permits the employer to require an employee who is purportedly ill and given sick leave extending beyond six working days, to be examined by a registered medical practitioner.

“Find and make an appointment for you with a doctor in South Africa. All expenses for the examination and travel be borne by Wasco.

“You are hereby informed that following the meeting a research for a doctor was done, and with an appointment secured. Your scheduled appointment is on Wednesday July 7, 2021, at 10:00 am at Bloemfontein medic clinic.

“As a pre requisite to travel to South Africa you will have to undergo a Covid-19 test. You are therefore required to go for testing on Monday July 5, 2021 at 09:00 am at Target Pathology Laboratories at Maseru Avani; payment shall be made by the company.

“You will be picked by a driver on July 7, 2021 at your residential home at 07:00 am for your travel to Bloemfontein and will expected to have collected your Covid-19 tested results beforehand,” Ramolise’s letter reads.

The source further disclosed to this reporter that the company refused to pay for his health fares in Bloemfontein citing that he was only going to be assisted on a checkup basis only.

“They are now refusing to pay for his medical services citing that they would only help on a checkup not admission. They suggested that doctor for him to check him up, but the doctor realised that he was in a bad situation and had to be admitted,” the source said.          

Meanwhile, Ramolise could not be reached until the time of going to print last night.               

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