The affordable education loan option
It was a bitter fight that took seven agonising years and cost Mahlomola Montsioa everything he had worked for over more than 20 years in public service, including selling his house to finance his legal costs in an attempt to regain his lost job.
But almost nine years and two court orders later, Montsioa, 52, a former senior investigator with the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) is still twiddling his thumbs at home, debt-ridden, broke, and without a job.
“I don’t know if I can confidently say to you I am still sane. This has created a lot of misery in my life,” he said. “It has cost me more than R65 000 in legal fees to attorneys who fought my case until 2009 when we obtained the first order from the Pretoria High Court in my favour. I was divorced… and I lost everything I had worked for, even my children turned their backs on me.”
Montsioa lost his job at Ipid in 2006 when he was accused of absconding from duty for more than a month, which led to suspension of his salary, a claim he refutes, saying that he had been attending an internal grievance at the bargaining council over being overlooked for promotion.
In the same year Montsioa, who had been a member of the SAPS from 1981 before moving to Ipid, made representations to the then minister of safety and security Charles Nqakula, requesting his reinstatement, citing his performance and accolades as reasons.
In the letter to the minister, he admitted to making mistakes before being sacked, but he maintained he was the best man for the job, having been with the police service for so long and having shown commitment to his work.
In 2009, he lodged an application with the Pretoria High Court which granted an order against Nqakula’s decision not to consider his reinstatement and ordered successor Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa to apply his mind whether to reinstate Montsioa in his former post or another position.
Mthethwa, however, wrote to Montsioa, stating his request to be reinstated could not be approved.
“After careful consideration of your representation and supplementary representations I wish to advise that I have satisfied myself that I am unable to invoke provisions of the Public Service Act as amended (to reinstate you),” Mthethwa said.
In May last year, Montsioa approached the court again and he was granted an order by the Pretoria High Court ordering the minister to comply with the first order within 10 days.
But instead of being returned to his post, Montsioa says state attorneys told his lawyers that they had complied with the order by sending him a letter by registered mail to meet them to sort out the matter.
He said the state attorneys claimed by failing to collect the document, Montsioa indicated that he was not interested.
Montsioa says further to this, he received pension fund forms from Ipid through his lawyers, who advised him to fill them in in an attempt to get all his money from Treasury, but he refused, suspecting he was being short-changed.
“They wanted me to sign a blank form. I have not committed any crime… the high court granted me a court order in 2009. I have approached every department where I thought I will be helped, even the president’s hotline, without success,” he adds.
Ipid spokesman Moses Dlamini said there was no court order compelling the minister of police to reinstate Montsioa to his job, rather one that compels the minister to reconsider his representations.
He said pension forms were given to him to enable him to get his pension as he is no longer a state employee.
“The second court order sought to compel the minister to comply with the first order. The minister did comply with that order as he considered Mr Montsioa’s representations and confirmed former minister Nqakula’s original decision,” Dlamini said. “The second court order is moot as it was also a default judgment saying the minister should consider Montsioa’s representations and it was granted without the aforesaid fact being put before the court.”
Montsioa’s former lawyer who dealt with his case, Rashida Mahdi, declined to comment, citing “client confidentiality”. - Saturday Star