“The department has noted the arbitration verdict concerning the suspension of Dr Thabo Lekalakala. It is important to remind the public that Dr Lekalakala was suspended following allegations of procurement irregularities, which affected a number of contracts,” said the provincial department on Tuesday.
Lekalakala, who was placed on suspension in April, is expected to be back in the office on Monday.
On Tuesday, the department said the contracts in question have since become a matter of forensic investigation.
“There are two issues which are to be considered in this matter. Firstly, the suspension of Dr Lekalakala and secondly, the disciplinary actions which the department has already instituted against Dr Lekalakala.
“Dr Lekalakala was placed on special leave owing to the fact that allegations against him were being investigated. The arbitration verdict, which instructs the department to reinstate Dr Lekalakala, is only concerned with the merits of this special leave,” said departmental spokesperson Tebogo Lekgethwane.
Lekgethwane said the verdict does not deal with the investigations and disciplinary actions.
Meanwhile, the department confirmed that disciplinary action against Dr Lekalakala is continuing, with a disciplinary committee already pursing the matter.
“Specifically on the special leave matter, the department is still studying the verdict and applying its mind on the way-forward. The department appeals to members of the public and public servants to allow the law to take its course,” Lekgethwane said.