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Rehiring still a pipe dream for many - departments ignore arbitration orders

By Bongani Nkosi | 2017-10-13 15:03:59.0

An axed public servant won an order in 2013 to be reinstated, but she remains home to this day.

According to her submission to the Public Service Commission (PSC), the government's non-implementation of her arbitration award has turned her life upside down.

The worker and her two children often go to bed on empty stomachs. Her home got repossessed, medical aid and education policies got cancelled.

"Financial bankruptcy gives me constant tension [and] headaches," she told the PSC, a statutory public service watchdog. "Emotionally, I'm just a nervous wreck, easily stressed and frustrated ..."

This civil servant cannot be named for fear of further reprisals. She was fired in 2006, and arbitration found in her favour in 2013.

Her story is one of the 260 cases in the PSC's report that investigated government's resistance to reinstate employees dismissed unfairly.

The 260 make up 25% of workers that departments, both national and provincial, resisted to reinstate.

A total of 784, or 75%, of the employees were reinstated after winning their cases. However, 25% were not so lucky.

Moira Marais-Martin, the PSC's commissioner in Northern Cape, said the departments act with impunity by simply not implementing the arbitration awards. In other cases they delay implementation by taking cases to review.

Some workers believed their seniors were stalling their reinstatement out of vindictiveness, said Marais-Martin.