Constitutional Court. File picture: Chris Collingridge/African News Agency (ANA).

Johannesburg - The Constitutional Court has ordered the Government Pensions Administration Agency (GPAA) and the Special Pensions Appeal Board (SPAB) to finally release the special pension of freedom fighter turned fraudster Nathaniel Masemola after years of a legal battle.

The 92-year-old ANC veteran had dragged the government before the apex court in August as he fought for the reinstatement of his pension, which was cancelled in 2008 after he was convicted on several counts of fraud in terms of the Special Pensions Act.

The special pension is allocated to individuals who made sacrifices and served in the public interest for establishing a non-racial democratic constitutional order

After successfully applying for a full presidential pardon, Masemola approached the GPAA and the SPAB asking for the reinstatement of the special but was rejected which triggered an eight-year legal battle.

The protracted legal fight started in the North Gauteng High Court with Masemola winning the case before it was overturned by the Supreme Court of Appeal.

Delivering the judgment, Justice Nonkosi Mhlantla said the pardon received by Masemola had revived his entitlement to continue receiving the special pension.

“Where the grounds for the disqualification have fallen away, a person will be able to receive their special pension once they have notified the board of the change in circumstance,” Justice Mhlantla said.

She said the full presidential pardon by Zuma had meant that Masemola had to be treated as a person who had not been convicted from the day it was announced.

The GPAA and SPAB have been ordered to restore Masemola’s special pension from 21 July 2011, which the date he received the pardon from Zuma.

They have also been ordered to pay the costs.

Political Bureau