Mushwana gets R7million handshake

2009-10-30 10:03

Departing public protector Lawrence Mushwana has received a golden

handshake of nearly R7 million, raising a storm about his entitlement to it,

news media reported on Friday.

Mushwana is also suspected of taking punitive action against the

chief executive of the public protector’s office Themba Mthethwa, for

questioning the payout.

Mushwana suspended Mthethwa and the contested R6.8 million payout

was deposited into Mushwana’s account 48 hours later, the newspaper said.

The payout included R90 000 in lieu of leave, which was

specifically prohibited in terms of Mushwana’s conditions of employment.

The Mail & Guardian said government failed this week to explain

the conditions of service that permitted this payment.

Clause 6.4 of Mushwana’s service conditions stated that no leave

shall be accumulative and “no salary allowance shall be claimed in respect of

leave which could have been taken, but was not utilised”.

On his way out, Mushwana also took a state vehicle, a BMW X5, that

he had been using for official duties, forcing the protector’s office to hire a

car for the new public protector Thulisile Madonsela, before buying a new

one.

Mushwana was entitled by law to keep the car, provided he paid a

certain amount for it determined by the state. He had yet to cough up.

Mushwana’s gratuity was recorded in the public protector’s annual

report, which was approved by Parliament in September.

The office of the public protector, Parliament and the presidency

each referred media questions to the other.

Justice department spokesman Tlali Tlali said the department did

not have information about Mushwana’s gratuity, as the protector’s office was an

independent constitutional institution accountable to the National

Assembly.

But Tlali said Mushwana was entitled to receive the gratuity

because his employment conditions were different to those of other heads of

Chapter 9 institutions.

The public protector was appointed on the same level as a judge and

Mushwana earned R1.5 million in that post.

This week Mushwana defended his payout, saying he qualified for it

because he signed an employment contract in 2002 that guaranteed he would

receive a gratuity at the end of his term, news reports stated.


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