92-year-old struggle veteran who won a presidential pardon should get back his special pension - ConCourt

2019-10-15 13:10
Bench of the Constitutional Court. (Alon Skuy, Gallo Images, Sowetan, file)

Bench of the Constitutional Court. (Alon Skuy, Gallo Images, Sowetan, file)

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A struggle veteran, who was granted a presidential pardon after he was convicted of fraud, is entitled to the restoration of special pension, the Constitutional Court has ruled.

"It is declared that the special pension of Mr Nathaniel Mashilo Masemola is restored from 21 July 2011, being the date on which he received his presidential pardon," Judge Nonkosi Mhlantla said on Tuesday.

Mhlantla ordered the Special Pensions Appeal Board and Government Pensions Administration Agency (GPAA) to pay Masemola within 14 days of the date of the order.

READ | Ramaphosa hands over ANC's highest honours to struggle veteran John Nkadimeng

In 2001, the 92-year-old Masemola was convicted on several counts of fraud, and sentenced to five years in prison.

According to the judgment, pursuant to an investigation by the Special Investigating Unit in 2007 - Masemola was advised by the Board that in terms of Section 1 (8)(b) of Act, he was disqualified from continuing to receive a special pension.

Presidential pardon

Masemola then applied for a presidential pardon which was later granted in 2011 by then president Jacob Zuma. He was also issued a police clearance certificate certifying that his conviction had been expunged from his record.

When he wrote to the GPAA, notifying it of his pardon, and requesting the reinstatement if his special pension, Masemola was informed in 2015 that his disqualification had occurred before his pardon and: "Since pardons do not have a retrospective effect, his special pension could not be reinstated."

After fighting tooth and nail to get his special pension back, Masemola then approached the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria which ruled in his favour.

However, the High Court's decision was later overturned by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) which found: "There is no means within the structure of the Act through which Mr Masemola can continue to receive a special pension..."

Masemola then approached the Constitutional Court for leave to appeal against the decision of the SCA.

In her ruling, Mhlantla said Masemola "only seeks reinstatement of his special pension from the date that he was pardoned".

"He acknowledges that he was disqualified from receiving his special pension under the Act between 2002 and his pardon in July 2011. But, he says his entitlement to the special pension revived when he was pardoned," she said.

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