Former prisons boss still stuck at home after 7 years
Fired Correctional Services manager still not back at work despite a 2014 court order to reinstate him
A former Department of Correctional Services (DCS) senior manager who was dismissed for allegedly giving a contract to renovate a prison hall to his friend, is still sitting at home despite the department being told to reinstate him in 2014.
Walter Mashiya was area commissioner for the Leeuwkop Correctional Management Centre and was responsible for four prisons before his dismissal by former DCS national commissioner Tom Moyane in 2011.
Mashiya was accused of unduly influencing a decision to award a tender for R250,000 to renovate the recreation club hall at Leeuwkop prison. It was alleged he was friends with the contractor.
The department hired an external firm of lawyers to investigate allegations that he failed to report a prisoner who escaped while being treated at hospital, and that he influenced the awarding of the tender. The matter dragged on through 2012 before he was found guilty of fraud pertaining to the tender, and dismissed.Mashiya took the matter to the General Public Service Sector Bargaining Council in 2013 and early 2014, which made the award in his favour and the department was instructed to reinstate him.
However, the department decided to take the decision on review to the Labour Court.
Times Select has seen documents from the bargaining council, in which the commissioner said the respondent (DCS) did not prove that the dismissal of the applicant was substantively and procedurally fair.
“The respondent is ordered to reinstate the application with effect from the date of the dismissal, 24 October 2011, on the same terms and conditions of employment that applied to him prior to his dismissal,” said the commissioner.
The department was further asked to back pay Mashiya and that he was ordered to report back to work on January 6, 2014.Now, seven years later, Mashiya has still not managed to put a foot back into the office. It is not known how much have been spent by the department to defend the matter over the years.
“I’ve done nothing wrong. My dismissal was just a witch hunt. It’s been more than four years at home since they were told to reinstate me and seven years after I last had a salary,” he said this week.
“I had nothing to do with the escape of the inmate and had nothing to do with the renovation of that hall. I never benefited and they know that,” he said.
“The department took the matter on review just to frustrate me and it’s been painful years without my salary and no money to pay the lawyers. But the question I have, why is the case dragging in the Labour Court? It is not fair to me.”
Mashiya said in the Labour Court, if there’s no decision taken within six month, the case is archived – meaning the review by the department lapses.Clause 11, of Rule 7 and 7a of the Rules of the Labour Court, reads: “A review application is by its nature an urgent application. An applicant in a review application is therefore required to ensure that all the necessary papers in the application are filed within 12 months of the date of the launch of the application …where this time limit is not complied with, the application will be archived and be regarded as lapsed unless good cause is shown why the application should not be archived or be removed from the archive.”
Mashiya said they met all these requirements. “The case should have proceeded and finalised four years ago, but no.”
DCS national spokesperson, Singabakho Nxumalo said the department was unable to comment at this stage. “Our legal department have informed me that the case of Mr Mashiya is before the court and awaiting a court date. As a result, it is sub judice. It will therefore be prudent that we give an official comment only once the matter has been ventilated in court,” said Nxumalo.
Labour Law expert, Natasha Moni of Moni Attorneys Incorporated said the applicant should write to the court if he’s not happy. “Justice delayed is justice denied, how can the matter be dragging for four years without any decision? The matter is automatically archived if not all the information needed, including transcripts of the Bargaining Council or CCMA records are not available for a review matter. The person should write to the judge president about this matter and also there are labour lawyers who can help pro-bono as well,” said Moni.
The department of justice has failed to respond.