The Labour Court in Johannesburg delivered its judgement on Tuesday, 2 March on three Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) executives whose contracts were terminated, declaring their dismissals unlawful.
This is after the three executives filed an urgent application with the Labour Court in an effort to have their dismissals reversed.
While the Labour Court ruled in favour of the executives, the court also ordered Prasa to pay the costs of the application along with the executives’ salaries from the time their contracts were terminated.
Last month Prasa announced the release of the executives – Martha Ngoye, group executive for legal, risk and compliance, Nkosinathi Khena, chief operations officer and Tiro Holele, group executive for chief executive officer’s office – and that some executives have all been in one way or the other implicated in corrupt activities at the railway agency.
ALSO READ: 36 months to get Prasa back on track
The trio will now be reinstated to their posts. The Labour Court’s decision has since been labelled as a “complete wasteful and fruitless expenditure” by labour law expert and Global Business Solutions CEO Jonathan Goldberg.
“In last week’s Budget Speech, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni announced a wage freeze for public servants and this has left many up in arms. On the back of this, the decision by Prasa to terminate the contracts of three of its executives has been overturned by the Labour Court,” Goldberg said.
“How can we continue to waste parastatal and government funds? Senior executives were dismissed in January and February by the Prasa board. Prasa has already appointed a new CEO and effectively the Labour Court has overturned the dismissals of the senior executives.
“This is just complete wasteful and fruitless expenditure. Either these employees had a proper probation contract and Prasa then followed that process to dismiss them, or they didn’t,” Goldberg said in a statement.
“It would seem that once again a board has taken a quick decision that is going to cost the state and parastatal millions and millions of rands.
READ MORE: Five years later PRASA gets permanent CEO
“Where is the oversight in this regard and how can we be doing this in 2021 and wasting this kind of money? This board needs to be held accountable for this and the board members need to be held personally responsible for the costs.”
Prasa confirmed it would appeal the Labour Court’s ruling.
“Prasa will be appealing the judgment of the acting judge as the basis of the judgment in favour of the applicants is flawed in law. Prasa’s legal team will be filing the necessary papers before the end of business tomorrow,” the railway agency said in a statement on Tuesday.