Warder wins back his job after 11 years

Mfundekelwa Mkhulisi

Mfundekelwa Mkhulisi

Neil Chiloane, protested his innocence when he was fired by the Department of Correctional Services 11 years ago.

"They accused me of corruption. I told them I had done nothing wrong. I never gave up hope of one day returning to the job I loved most, being a warder," Chiloane said yesterday.

Now 11 years on, he returned to Johannesburg Prison, or Sun City, as it is popularly called.

"It is my job. I fought 11 years to get it back," he said.

Chiloane, pictured, was charged with corruption in 1997 for allegedly assisting prisoners to escape from prison. He was subsequently fired following an internal disciplinary action.

"I feel great. I got my job after 11 years of struggling," said an elated Chiloane, 44. "I could not believe my ears when my lawyer called me last week to tell me the good news."

He said the first thing he would do was to start paying his bond.

The bank had repossessed his house because he failed to pay, though he did not move out.

"My reinstatement came at the right time. I had just been offered the right to buy the house."

He said he sold perfume and hats to feed his family.

"I thank God my wife Gladness did not leave me during the hard times. She has always been by my side and giving me support."

Chiloane, of Ennerdale, Joburg, took his employers to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) for unfair dismissal but lost the case.

He appealed at the labour court and the CCMA ruling was reversed and the order to reinstate him was made on May 30 2006.

However, he could not resume his job as the department lodged an appeal, which was turned down.