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By Vhahangwele Nemakonde

Digital Deputy News Editor

Mkhwebane takes Public Protector to court over R10m gratuity

The decision to withhold Mkhwebane's gratuity was informed by a legal opinion stating that she was not entitled to it due to her impeachment.

Former Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, has announced legal action against the Public Protector South Africa in a bid to receive her R10 million gratuity.

This after her former employer said in a recent statement that they had “duly responded” to her inquiry about her gratuity.

ALSO READ: A step backwards for SA: Mkhwebane’s removal should worry us all

According to reports, the decision to withhold Mkhwebane’s gratuity was informed by a legal opinion stating that she was not entitled to it due to her impeachment.

Mkhwebane was removed from her position before her term ended in September last year.

This after the Section 194 Committee adopted the final report that recommended Mkhwebane’s removal to the National Assembly, after she was found guilty of misconduct and incompetence.

She was removed from office after 318 of the 400 MPs voted in favour of the Parliament’s Section 194 Committee Report, while 43 voted against it.

ALSO READ: Section 194: Rushed or justified? Busisiwe Mkhwebane could lose millions

At the time, she said she was being targeted for “asking the 31 Phala Phala questions, the CR17 report, the so-called Rogue Unit report and for commenting on the economic impact of the Reserve Bank mandate on the poor”.

Mkhwebane ‘entitled to equal treatment’

However, Mkhwebane said on Tuesday that she was entitled to her gratuity and would approach the courts to force her former employer to pay what is due to her.

“Despite numerous attempts by my legal representatives to engage with the Office of the Public Protector regarding the gratuity stipulated in my employment conditions of service, our inquiries have been met with silence,” she said.

“A legal challenge will be imminently filed in the High Court to address the interpretation of the employment conditions of service, relevant legislation and the Constitution by the Public Protector.”

ALSO READ: Mkhwebane vows to fight ‘dark forces’ who want to take away her ‘hard-earned’ benefits

Mkhwebane argued that the explanation she was not entitled to her gratuity due to her removal from office was “unlawful and unconstitutional”.

“I am entitled to equal treatment, dignity and fair labour practices and respect, as is every other individual. The heart of the matter revolves around the interpretation of the phrase ‘vacation of office’ in my employment condition of service, in conjunction with relevant legislation and the Constitution.

“Regrettably, after seeking legal counsel, there is no alternative but to seek recourse through the judicial system.

“This decision has not been taken lightly, but in the pursuit of upholding the principles of fairness, justice and the protection of the rights of every individual under the law.”

ALSO READ: Former public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane joins EFF

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