Former acting magistrate wins case against state

2011-03-29 14:33

A former acting magistrate has won a court case against the state today, civil rights group AfriForum said.

Derick van Wyk, a former acting magistrate of Middelburg in Mpumalanga, took the justice minister to court to stop the government from paying magistrates who had been appointed on contract only 60% of the compensation permanently appointed magistrates received.

“Van Wyk brought an urgent application against the Minister of Justice in December last year when he was notified that all magistrates with contract appointments would in future receive only 60% of the compensation which full-time magistrates received, despite the fact that they had the same duties as full-time magistrates,” said AfriForum lawyer Willie Spies.

He said Judge Ferdi Preller ruled in Van Wyk’s favour in the Gauteng North High Court in Pretoria. Preller also ruled that the State had to pay Van Wyk’s legal expenses.

“Hundreds of magistrates are currently in acting positions countrywide and in certain cases those magistrates have been working for seven years at 60% of the compensation without any fringe benefits. The ruling opens the door for all magistrates in Van Wyk’s position to appeal to the courts for an improved distribution,” said Spies.

However, Van Wyk would not benefit because he was no longer an acting magistrate.

He was not re-appointed after he took the minister to court.

“Van Wyk, who held the position as acting magistrate for three years, was not re-appointed and he had to set up a law firm once more in February this year,” said Spies.

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