A senior official from the Department of Public Works who was fired for his role in the R500 million police leasing scandal, which cost then top cop Bheki Cele his job, has been rehired, The Times reported on Tuesday. The official, Sam Vukela, has also been rehired with a R2 million payout from the department for his time away.
Vukela was reportedly acting director general when the deal happened. He has reportedly won an arbitration award, although a legal opinion says the award is open to legal challenge. He was reportedly fired for his role in the deal, in which the police entered into a leasing agreement in which the prices were allegedly over-inflated, and tender procedures were flouted.
Vukela was the accounting officer of Public Works as its director general. The public protector found that the deal was unlawful in 2011.
In 2013, an internal probe into the deal found Vukela to be unfit for his job and recommended that he be fired.
While the Bargaining Council said he had been unfairly dismissed, the department sought a legal opinion on this from advocate Bantubonke Tokota SC. The opinion said the Bargaining Council's decision was open to review as it was "vague and embarrassing and not easy to understand".