NPA's bid to appeal judgment over prosecutors' increase 'a waste of taxpayers'
Pretoria - Deputy directors of public prosecutions (DDPP’s) are extremely unhappy about the move by the national prosecuting authority (NPA) to appeal a judgment delivered last month in which it was ordered that they were entitled to their long overdue promise of a salary and benefit increase.
In a statement issued this week by the Public Service Administration (PSA), the union said they viewed this move as a blatant waste of taxpayers’ money and as a total disregard for the effective functioning of the criminal justice system.
The Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, ruled on October 15 that the NPA had to comply with a notice issued in the Government Gazette of december 2, 2010, in which it was announced that about 57 senior prosecutors were entitled to increases.
This never happened, while their juniors, who report to them, received their increases. The result was that the junior prosecutors earned in many cases more than their supervisors.
The senior prosecutors turned to court after a battle of more than a decade to hold the NPA to its promise. The DDPP’s were set to have their salaries corrected as far back as 2007. They are said to be the backbone of the prosecuting authority, with some holding service for 40 years.
Former National Director of Public Prosecutions, Shaun Abrahams, point blank refused to implement the financial promises already made to them in 2007. Judge Cornelius van der Westhuizen made it clear in his judgment that these promises were long overdue. He ruled that they had to receive their payment, backdated to 2007.
He said Abrahams was not entitled to place the promise on hold, and it stood in place as Abrahams never took it on review at the time. During legal arguments he expressed his shock and dismay at how the DDPP’s in our country are being treated by the government and the NPA by refusing them their promised benefits.
He remarked that these legal eagles are crucial in ensuring that the wheels of justice turned daily. The senior prosecutors hailed the judgment and said it would boost the already low morale at this office. Their joy was, however, was short lived by the news of the pending appeal proceedings.
The PSA said that this latest appeal application is set to further demoralise employees, which will pose a danger to the running of the courts and the criminal justice system. It said that the delay in the implementation is resulting in a further accrual of interest with an impact on the taxpayers’ pocket.
The union called on the justice minister and the prosecuting authority to stop wasting the public purse with this legal action and to restore normality by implementing the judgment.