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‘Sheriff must seize assets of NC dept’

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“The department has missed the deadline and will not be able to review the matter in the Labour Court. It has no choice but to pay the settlement agreement.”

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THE NATIONAL Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) has issued a writ of execution for the sheriff of the court to seize the assets of the provincial Department of Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs (Coghsta) after it apparently failed to pay one of the union’s members an arbitration award of R25 544.70.

The award was issued in January to Franklin Ngcaba for a once-off cash bonus equivalent to 10 percent of his annual salary according to an agreement reached in 2016.

According to Ngcaba, the department had failed to oppose the arbitration award that was enforced by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration in January, within the prescribed six weeks.

“The department has missed the deadline and will not be able to review the matter in the Labour Court. It has no choice but to pay the settlement agreement.”

He explained that he qualified for the once-off cash bonus after completing his post graduate studies in labour law in 2014, which was in line with his work.

“My application was approved along with another deputy director who received his bonus after he graduated. The department, however, informed me that the process for my bonus was still being finalised. I only received R500 of my bonus whereupon I took the matter on arbitration and approached the General Public Service Sector Bargaining Council (GPSSBC) for clarity.”

Ngcaba believes that he was ostracised after he had spoken out against the appointment of an assistant director, who did not possess the required skills, qualifications or experience.

“Following the incident, my working environment became unbearable and I ended up leaving the department.”

Ngcaba stated that the sheriff of the court had visited Coghsta’s office last week in order to attach its assets so that his arbitration award could be paid out.

“The sheriff of the court was misled and was turned away. They are expected to return next week. This means that the department will have to fund the cost for both visits from the sheriff, alone that comes at a cost of about R1 500 for an urgent execution. Coghsta will also be responsible for interest on the outstanding amount calculated at 14 percent per month.”

Spokesperson for Coghsta, Lerato Khunou, said that the department had paid Ngcaba the once-off cash bonus for attainment of improved qualification amounting to R22 780.20

“The former official was informed that he does qualify, however, certain deductions, which the former official is cognisant of, were made thus resulting in the applicant receiving the balance of R590.96.”

Khunou added that the GPSSBC had dismissed the application for a variation of the arbitration/settlement award.

“The official subsequently approached the office of the sheriff and all documentation pertaining to this case was provided to the sheriff. As a result, the department is awaiting the final decision of the sheriff.”

Khunou stated that the department was “fully aware of all the threatening text messages” that were being sent to an official from the department.

“The department wishes to echo the sentiments that the law must take its course.”