“Genuinely sick” Sibusiso Chonco‚ an accused in the Nkandla disciplinary hearing‚ had his head bowed for the three minutes and 49 seconds it took for disciplinary hearing chairman Thulani Khuzwayo to read out a ruling over whether or not the case against the public works official would go ahead.
He blinked his eyes intermittently‚ and then closed them in sheer relief when Khuzwayo granted his request to postpone his hearing due to ill health.
Chonco sat next to his legal representative, Adrian Moodley, as he endured a two-hour argument between him and national Public Works representative Clement Kulati.
Khuzwayo said the application of the adjournment was merely based on the medical notes that the employee presented at the hearing.
He said that‚ in his view‚ the medical records were unclear about whether the medical condition the employee was experiencing – which included depression‚ sedation from medication‚ inability to concentrate and forgetfulness – precluded him from attending a disciplinary inquiry.
But‚ he said‚ it was in the interest of fairness that a postponement was allowed.
Chonco is one of 10 officials charged with flouting tender processes that saw architect Minenhle Makhanya awarded the contract for the upgrades to President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla homestead.
He was to be the first of the officials to face disciplinary action, which could result in him being fired if found guilty.
While Chonco’s matter has been postponed to July, his colleague‚ Jayshree Pardesi, will appear on June 1 and 2.