The Board of the Housing Development Agency (HDA) is deeply concerned at the Sunday Independent's misleading coverage today of a labour dispute involving one of its employees.
As its basis, the article quotes court documents prepared for an urgent interdict in the Labour Court during February 2012 by the employee, Mr Joseph Leshabane. The article contains a number of errors, of which three are fundamental:
• Mr Leshabane in fact withdrew his application for an interdict before it was even considered by the Labour Court and this fact was recorded in an order of the court.
• As a result, the "court documents" referred to are no longer before the Court and have no legal standing.
• Before the interdict was withdrawn, the Minister of Human Settlements, Tokyo Sexwale, had indicated that as the matter was between an employee and his employer, a subject for the Labour Relations Act, he had no locus standi in the issue and would abide the decision of any Court. Given that the matter was withdrawn already in February, it is therefore completely misleading to say there is a case pending against the Minister.
These are crucial points, all easily verifiable by the reporter if he reviewed the court records. It is a matter for comment that the reporter did not quote any of the replying affidavits which would have given a very different view of the matter, and would have indicated why Mr. Leshabane and his legal representatives withdrew their application for an urgent interdict.
There are additional errors and omissions in the article. For example, the reporter cites an audit investigation into alleged supply chain transgressions - yet fails to mention that the investigation found no evidence of wrongdoing. This is despite the reporter stating that he has a copy of the report.
The combination of factual errors and selective omission creates a completely incorrect picture of the true situation at HDA, and we call for a correction and an apology.