ACP Mapola fights early retirement

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Moorosi Tsiane

ASSISTANT Commissioner of Police (ACP) Motlatsi Mapola has petitioned the High Court to stop Police Commissioner, Holomo Molibeli, from sending him on early retirement in March this year.

ACP Mapola was in March 2021 forced to go on terminal leave pending his retirement on 8 March 2023. He had accumulated 511 leave days.

Police says this is when he reaches the statutory retirement age of 55 years.

Although ACP Mapola does not dispute that he is due for retirement in March 2023, he argues that he is supposed to leave his employment on 8 December 2023, not 8 March 2023 as said by his employer. This is because he was born on 8 December 1968, and not 8 March 1968, he claims.

He therefore, wants Commissioner Molibeli to continue paying him until then.

Commissioner Molibeli, the Ministry of Public Service Labour and Employment, Attorney General Rapelang Motsieloa are cited as first to third respondents respectively in ACP Mapola’s application.

In his court papers filed through his lawyers, Mei &Mei Attorneys last week, ACP Mapola asks the court to review and set aside Commissioner Molibeli’s regard of his date of birth as 8 March 1968 and instead stipulate it as 8 December 1968.

ACP Mapola then wants the court to order the respondents to retire him on reaching compulsory retirement age of 55 years on the corrected 8 December 2023 date.

He also wants the respondents to continue paying him his monthly salary until then.

In his founding affidavit, ACP Mapola says that his efforts to have Commissioner Molibeli correct his retirement date from 8 March to 8 December 1968 have been futile.

“… On 19 March 2021, the first respondent (Molibeli) directed me to proceed on terminal leave pending retirement. He suggested that my leave will run from 22 March 2021 to 8 March 2023, which was said to be my last day of service,” he says.

ACP Mapola submits that upon receiving Commissioner Molibeli’s letter, he engaged the police boss and informed him that his date of birth was 8 December 1968 and not 8 March 1968 as indicated in his employment records.

He says he also advised Commissioner Molibeli that based on this, his statutory compulsory retirement date should therefore be 8 December 2023.

But ACP Mapola says all his efforts to resolve the matter amicably with his employer were futile.

“When I observed that there was no willingness to resolve this matter by the first respondent, I escalated the same to then Minister of Police and Public Safety, Lepota Sekola.

“All that I was told was that my records, which I have not seen, suggested that I was born on 8 March 1968. It is important to point out that the first respondent (Molibeli) made this finding without first consulting with me or giving me a hearing as would be expected. It would have sufficed to give me an opportunity to provide evidence and substantiate why I told by the first respondent that I was born on 8 December 1968,” he submits.

ACP Mapola argues that taking early retirement as proposed by Commissioner Molibeli would deprive him of his monthly salary which is his only source of income.

It would also interrupt investments that are linked to the salary, such as insurance contributions.

ACP Mapola further says not having his salary until his supposed 8 December 2023 retirement date will cause him irreparable harm and prejudice.

“In the same manner, it stands to disrupt my pension entitlements such as the net benefit due to me.

“However, I know as a matter of fact that the records I submitted to the file held by the first respondent demonstrate that I was born on 8 December 1968. I say this because even the first respondent’s office acknowledged in its letter dated 10 June 2020 that I was born on 8 December 1968 and went so far as to suggest that I would retire on 13 December 2023.

“The Minister of Police and Public Safety did not seek to resolve the matter with the result that on 29 September 2021, I wrote a follow up letter in which I reiterated the importance of the minister’s intervention in a matter, which I considered to be highly prejudicial to my rights,” he says.

ACP Mapola says he was left with no other option but to seek the High Court’s intervention after failing to get help from all the relevant parties he had appealed to.

The case will be heard on 6 February 2023.

 

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