Badul: ruling on Polmed, sacking set for Friday

2010-02-23 00:00

ACTING Judge Nkosinathi Chili will rule on Friday whether former police director Hariram Badul is entitled to medical aid following his arrest on fraud and theft charges and whether KZN Commissioner Betty Ngobeni was right to dismiss him summarily from the police two days before he officially retired.

Advocate Danie van Loggerenberg SC, assisted by Advocate Solly Maakane, representing the SA Police Service medical scheme, Polmed, urged the court yesterday to reconsider the interim interdict granted in favour of Badul on January 19.

Van Loggerenberg submitted that the high court in KZN does not have the jurisdiction to grant the interim interdict, which would force Polmed to pay Badul’s bills, as Polmed’s head office is in Pretoria. He also submitted Badul has not met various legal requirements for an interdict.

Badul’s advocate, Rob Seggie, submitted yesterday that Ngobeni’s action in firing Badul in the way she had is “unbecoming of the SA Police Service”, spiteful and obviously geared to deny Badul his pension after 41 years’ service.

Seggie submitted further that the provincial commissioner’s action was unlawful, and said that in terms of police regulations, Badul’s dismissal could not be immediate and could come into effect only after 21 days. Badul also still has a right of appeal, he added.

Seggie argued that the high court does, in fact, have jurisdiction to decide the disputes concerning both Polmed and Badul’s dismissal.

Seggie said Badul was a member of the Polmed medical scheme in KwaZulu-Natal and the medical aid had repudiated claims submitted by Badul in this province.

A letter dated December 4, 2009 — the day Badul was arrested and suspended — was sent to his lawyers by the provincial commissioner in which she specifically stated that it would be in “his [Badul’s] own interests to pay his [and the state’s] Polmed contribution” if he wanted to retain his medical aid, and he had acted on that information.

It was common cause that he paid contributions to Polmed.

Seggie said a letter in the same terms was issued to police Inspector Michael Sokhela who was arrested in December in connection with the “notorious” murder of civil servant Dr Warwick Dorning.

Under these circumstances it is difficult to see how the provincial commissioner could have “made a mistake” in that letter as she now claimed, he said.

Advocate Don Williams SC, on behalf of the SAPS, said Ngobeni has said in an affidavit that the letter in question was a mistake and said the court has to accept her assertion. She had taken steps to rectify the matter the next day, he said.

Williams submitted that the dispute around Badul’s dismissal should be heard by the Labour Court and not by the high court.

Regarding Badul’s medical aid, Williams said the reason that awaiting trial prisoners are not entitled to medical aid is that the state can, and must, provide them with medical services free of charge.

He challenged Badul’s “bald statement” that it is known that state hospitals are not as good as private hospitals.

He disputed Seggie’s submission that not only Badul himself but his wife and dependants were deprived of medical aid, but Seggie said Polmed confirmed in an affidavit that Badul’s wife was also affected.

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