Axed EFF MP wants job back

A former Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) MP, whose children were thrown out of private school and whose bakkie was repossessed after the party expelled him for refusing to move to a different municipality, is taking the party to court.

Emmanuel Mtileni has taken the party and the national council of provinces (NCOP) to court and is demanding to be reinstated to the seat he held in the council for just more than two years.

Mtileni lost his NCOP seat when the EFF sought to redeploy him to a municipality as a councillor following the August 3 local government elections. He was later expelled from the party for refusing to vacate his seat as a permanent delegate for Limpopo in the NCOP.

He now wants the court to direct the EFF to restore his membership of the party, together with all the benefits. He also wants the NCOP to reinstate him on its payroll as an MP.

In court papers, Mtileni details the financial implications of his removal from Parliament and how the move has badly affected his children, for whom he could no longer pay tuition fees.

Mtileni reveals that two of his children, who are in Grade 12, were kicked out of their residence because he had not paid fees for November, nor had he paid for their matric dance. He could not pay for his other children’s tuition – he has a son in Grade 4 and a child in university – because he has not been getting a salary.

Mtileni revealed in court papers that his VW Amarok has been repossessed by the bank.

At a post-election press conference in August, EFF leader Julius Malema alluded to an EFF MP who did not want to be redeployed as a councillor because he/she didn’t want to lose their Amarok and that his/her children were at a private school.

In court papers, Mtileni reveals that it all began when EFF secretary-general Godrich Gardee, through a “telephonic instruction”, informed him that he would be redeployed to work in the Vhembe District Municipality as a councillor.

Mtileni allegedly refused to be redeployed and later refused to be sworn in as a proportional representative councillor in the municipality.

He was then instructed to no longer take the seat as a councillor and was informed through a letter that he had been put on temporary suspension.

Mtileni says that, when he was called to appear before a disciplinary hearing, he could not attend due to ill health and submitted medical certificates as proof, but the EFF went ahead with the disciplinary process and he was dismissed by the EFF’s national executive committee on October 24.

He accuses the party of ignoring or neglecting disciplinary and labour processes, and of violating the Labour Relations Act because he was not afforded an opportunity to sit before the disciplinary board.

“My dismissal was substantially and procedurally wrong. Should the interdict not be granted, I stand to lose all my benefits. All the financial benefits have been terminated…” he wrote in his affidavit.

Submitted as part of the court papers are letters from Gardee to Mtileni where, on August 16, Gardee informs Mtileni not to take the seat as a councillor in Vhembe, and the next day informs him of his temporary suspension from the party.

Gardee, in the letter, cites Mtileni’s refusal to be redeployed as a reason for his suspension.

A national disciplinary committee sat in his absence and despite his submitting four doctors’ certificates between August 29 and September 12 as proof that he could not attend the disciplinary hearings due to ill health, he was expelled on October 24 when the national executive committee ratified the disciplinary committee’s findings and sanctions.

Despite Mtileni’s lawyers writing to NCOP chair Thandi Modise last month to ask that he be allowed to continue to perform his duties as a legitimate member of the council, a replacement, Brenda Tirhani Mathevula, was sworn in on December 1.

Gardee told City Press that many people had been redeployed by various parties from across the different spheres of government and this was not unique to the EFF.

Gardee would not comment further because the matter is before the court.

Parliament had not responded to requests for comment at the time of going to press.

Modise’s spokesperson, Tsepiso Shuenyane, said nothing prohibited the NCOP chairperson from swearing in a permanent delegate who was properly appointed by a provincial legislature.