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DerrickGrootboom
 
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Heritage fruits of freedom

27 September 2012, 11:14

Black, Qualified and skilled with a Master of Laws degree and no criminal record but Blacklisted from practising law by South African Courts

My story chronologically is the story of a rural Eastern Cape Klipplaat born teenager becoming a freedom fighter and political prisoner during the 1980’s wherefrom I spend just more than five (5) years of a seven (7) year sentence between 1986 and 1991 on a charge of sabotage in South African maximum security prisons such as Robben Island, Polsmoor and Helderstroom (www.justice.gov.za/trc/amntrans/1999/99101828_ct_991020.htm). After my release 11 April 1991 and during my bachelor law degree studies at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) I officiated as Election Observer during the freedom day 27 April 1994 election in Durbanville Cape Town for the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) headed by Judge Johann Kriegler (whom I hosted with his wife Aunt Betsie on Robben Island with the Human Rights Center of the University of Pretoria during 2003) where after I continued with my studies whilst facilitating workshops for Street Law UWC (a human rights non-governmental organisation) with teachers in the Western Cape and Northern Cape to incorporate Chapter 2 the Bill of Rights of the South African Constitution into the nine (9) learning areas of the Outcome-based Curriculum for primary and high schools. October 1999 I received amnesty from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission who was headed by Archbishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu after having worked 1997 in Namibia as a Public Prosecutor in the Namibian Justice Department not having a police clearance certificate required for a work permit because my political convictions which remained as a criminal record against my name. 1998 on return from Namibia I conducted tours as ex-political prisoner on Robben Island under Robben Island Museum (www.wanderlustandlipstick.com/wander-tales/africa/robben-island/) and from 2001 I started to prosecute again but this time under the South African National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

After more than five (5) years of prosecuting with a clean work record and an excellent performance rating; having complained about maladministration and illegal instructions given to me by my seniors in the NPA www.derrickgrootboom.blogspot.com/2012_08_01_archive.html), I was suspended and debarred from duty on 22 June 2005 in a disciplinary matter that was dragging under the prosecution of the NPA. During this time whilst on suspension from duty I decided to apply for the Nelson Mandela Scholarship which was in its ninth (9th) year and received the Unilever and De Loitte sponsored scholarship March 2006 personally from my hero and leader Nelson Mandela at the Houghton offices of the Nelson Mandela Foundation. Out of courtesy being on suspension from work I informed the NPA and asked for leave from work long before I was granted the scholarship not that I needed to do so because I was on suspension and debarred from duty since 22 June 2005. The leave under the circumstances was granted before the awarding of the scholarship by the NPA on condition that I complete the leave forms as unpaid leave. My attorneys, being attorneys enquired about the policy of the NPA pertaining to leave under these circumstances to ascertain if it provides for leave with pay, I being on suspension with full pay from the date of suspension. This the NPA could never provide to this day. On the 17th August 2006 at Upington my disciplinary hearing proceeded before the General Public Service Sectoral Bargaining Council (GPSSBC) and after listening to arguments of myself for postponement indefinitely until my return from overseas and the NPA’s argument against it, the presiding officer postponed the disciplinary hearing indefinitely (sine die) until my return from the United Kingdom (UK) where I would study towards my Master of Laws degree as a Nelson Mandela Scholar at the University of Southampton. Because I was granted leave without pay, I attended with the NPA’s prosecutor in my case at the Upington offices of my supervisor to complete the leave forms to stop my salary that I was receiving at the time. He refused to assist me and objected to the fact that I was granted leave to study overseas as granted by the NPA and accepted by the Arbitrator of the GPSSBC that 17 August 2006. I left without him wanting to complete his part of the leave forms. I boarded 18 August 2006 at Cape Town International the plane with my return ticket (booked six months in advanced) to the UK and arrived there 19th August 2006. October 2006 my salary was arbitrarily stopped by the NPA, I made email contact with then as to enquire on what legal basis they did so and they refused to give me the grounds. I left the matter as is deciding I will return as ruled by the GPSSBC and then address the matter.

7 February 2007 I received an email from the CEO of the NPA informing me that I was dismissed by operation of the law in terms of Section 17(5)(a)(i) of the Public Service Act (PSA) 103 of 1994, which section deem a public servant to have been dismissed from employment for being absent from duty for more than thirty (30) days. This means I am dishonourably discharged from the NPA and Public Service without a hearing after complaining about maladministration and illegal practices in the organisation. This invocation of the NPA [in the person of Minister of Justice Bridgette Mabandla, Director General Menzi Simelane (now on leave pending ruling of the Constitutional Court), Acting NPA head Mokotedi Mpshe (now Judge of the Land Claims Court after withdrawing the case against Mr Jacob Zuma), Acting CEO Beryl Simelane (now Ambassador to Norway) , Human Resources Executive Thenjiwe Mthitso (now Ambassador to Italy), Senior Human Resources Manager Ronnie Pather] of this section of the PSA to dismiss me and brand me with dishonourable discharge under the circumstances was a clear act of abuse of power I believed and took the matter to the Labour Court in Cape Town. A former ANC deployee and mayor www.accessmylibrary.com/coms2/summary_0286-25323879_ITM, now a judge, Judge Edwin Molahlehi (from the South African Police Intelligence head, Richard Mduli court saga www.citypress.co.za/Politics/.../Mdluli-back-at-work-again-20120601-2), was send from Johannesburg to preside over my case in Cape Town. His handling of the matter left me with no choice to lay a complaint with the Judicial Service Commission which is still pending.  I appealed to the Labour Appeal Court. This time judges, John Hlophe (www.legalbrief.co.za/article.php?story=20051101084749132) and Lazarus Tlaletsi (www.iol.co.za/.../judges-racial-spat-resolved-at-last-minute-1.420290) was grouped with Dennis Davis (http://mg.co.za/article/2009-09-22-judge-davis-irked-by-jsc-questions-about-hlophe) who has become noted having tried unsuccessfully to get appointed to the Constitutional Court with an ANC majority up to now in the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) against him and him taking exception to be reminded for delivering judgments overturned on appeal. These judges dismissed my appeal with costs on 21 September 2012 (http://www.saflii.mobi/za/cases/ZALAC/2012/28.html, my Heritage Day present I guess) although I presented myself because I cannot afford a lawyer or advocate. They maintain in their judgment that I was absent from work for more than 30 days without permission and that I was thus justly dismissed by the NPA. I maintain that the law rule here in terms of Section 17(5)(a)(i) of the PSA. I as one debarred with suspension from duty, not only in terms of the suspension but Section 20(7) of National Prosecuting Act 32 of 1998 [“No member of the prosecuting authority who has been suspended from his or her office under this act or any other law shall be competent to exercise any of the powers referred to in subsection (1 - prosecuting) for the duration of such suspension.”] can under no legal circumstances be expected to be on duty without the suspension uplifted. I being in the UK by order of the GPSSBC cannot be punished for complying with that order. I being on suspension with pay on 17 August 2006 could not have insisted to be given leave with pay because at that time I was already on suspension with pay. My suspension to this day has never been uplifted.

I need say that I presided from February 2009 until December 2011 as assessor of the Western Cape High Court over two criminal trials on a daily basis with respectively two Justices of the Western Cape High Court. During this time I had more than one meeting with Judge John Hlophe in his chambers as legal consultant in civil matters before the High Court and as applicant to be admitted as advocate of the High Court. During one meeting which he without being asked about it told an astonished me and another lawyer that he burned his fingers because he wanted to influence the two constitutional court judges in favour of now President Zuma. He also questionably handled my admission (I am still in possession of the letter written by Judge John Hlophe on 24 May 2010 advising that “Judge President JM Hlophe granted your request to be admitted on 4 June 2010”) as an advocate application which was ultimately opposed by the Cape Bar in the person of Advocates Jeremy Muller SC and Allisdair Sholto-Douglas SC and dismissed a day before my birthday 23 August 2010 by Justices Steyn and Yekiso for reasons that I do not have an LLB and that my experience in law and B.Iuris and LLM degree is less qualification than an LLB degree in the possession of a fresh from university student they would and always do admit without question. I did only exchange greetings with Judge Dennis Davis during this almost three (3) years that I was an assessor in the Western Cape High Court. I however despite my surprise when I saw these judges would hear my Labour Appeal Court matter on 8 May 2012 in the Western cape High Court; I let it be, because I want to get the matter to just finalisation and objecting to any one of them presiding in my case would be useless and dragging the matter further.  

This case of mine proof one thing: The South African system, its’ good laws and constitution has become a farce in practice not because its form is wrong but because the questionable persons making up its content is corrupting the certainty of system; its’ laws and constitution to mean different things to different persons.  Trust and certainty is lost if the law that is clear and unambiguous such as the aforesaid section of the PSA can rule and apply where it cannot apply just because the powers that be have contorted it to be so. I am dismissed by ANC heavy weights in the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development and two courts of law presided over by some questionable judges ignoring the requirement of legality and the rule of law’s strict applicability in my dismissal from the NPA just because I complained about maladministration and illegality in the NPA administration and registering a complaint against a judge (Edwin Molahlehi) for allegedly transgressing the independence of the judiciary principle in my case. I am now being blacklisted from employment in the new South Africa and therefore endeavouring with the publishing and sale of my story to raise funds to take my case to the highest court in the land, the Constitutional Court; against the infringement of my right to live under the application of the Rule of Law in terms of Section 17(5)(a)(i) of the Public Service Act (PSA) 103 of 1994 (as amended). This law warrants deemed dismissal of employees who absents themselves without permission of their employer from work for 30 days. In terms thereof I am blacklisted from employment because I conducted my studies as Nelson Mandela Scholar for a year in the United Kingdom whilst being suspended from work and instructed not to be on duty and acting in terms of a GPSSBC judgment to travel to the United Kingdom and to study there for a year. The strict rule of law principles governing the legislated Section 17(5)(a)(i) of the PSA have been ignored in the invocation of the aforesaid section against me to blacklist me for bias, ulterior motive, failure to take into account relevant considerations, bad faith, being arbitrary and capricious as is guarded against by Section 6(2) of the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act 3 of 2000. My trust and believe in the Rule of Law warrants me to refuse this particular blacklisting as the new South Africa Heritage Fruits of Freedom. Yes I am hurt, badly so! But HOPE remains that somebody would listen and help me!

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