Saturday, January 23, 2021

Appeal over DCEC employees case slated for hearing next week

Court of Appeal judges will next Friday hear an appeal in which the Directorate of Public Prosecution, representing the Director of the Directorate of Corruption and Economic Crime, wants them to rule that Lobatse High Court judge, Isaac Lesetedi, was wrong to rule in favour of an application brought before him by 20 employees of the DCEC in a judgment passed on the 30 of May 2007.

On the grounds of appeal, the DPP stated:
– That the Court had failed to fully appreciate the constitutionality, statutory and other regulatory constraints that govern the terms of office and the remuneration of the employees of the DCEC.
– That the Court had erred in its interpretation of the scheme of service, effective date of scheme of service and how a scheme of service is to be implemented.

– That judge Lesetedi had erred in finding that the Director of DCEC had made assurances to any of the DCEC employees regarding their progression or otherwise based on educational qualifications within the DCEC.

– That the judge had not correctly understood the concept of holding officers against posts and that he had contradicted himself in holding that the scheme of service is not authority for creation of posts whilst on the other hand ruling that it should have been implemented from 1 November, 2002 at which point posts were not in place.

The DPP wants the Court of Appeal judges to declare that the decision of the Director of DCEC to implement the revised Scheme of Service after 1 November, 2002 was competent and lawful.
They want the Court to declare that the Director of DCEC was within his rights in re-designating DCEC employees without affording them an opportunity to be heard and did not infringe any legitimate expectations.
Further, they want the Court of Appeal judges to declare that the respondents were not entitled to receive remuneration applicable to their respective positions with effect from 1 November 2002 and that the lumping of the employees on the bottom notch of the new salary scale was not unjust and unlawful.

The DPP also wants the Court of Appeal judges to declare that the redesignations of the DCEC employees did not amount to demotions and to declare that the transfer of some of the DCEC employees from professional model to technical model and from professional model to artisan model without affording them an opportunity to be heard was lawful and that those transfers were not prejudicial variations of their employment terms.
In response to the submissions made by Kenanao Sebotho of the DPP, Duma Boko, representing the employees of the DCEC, submitted that it is clear that the introduction of new schemes of service had adversely affected the employees of the DCEC because, before its introduction, there was no requirement of minimum academic qualifications for the employees and that those in the professional cadre were eligible to progress even to the level of Director without any requirement for any academic qualifications and that this was changed by the introduction by the new Scheme of Service.

Boko further submitted that the DPP lawyer tended not to disagree with this but that he then strangely contended that this alteration had not affected those affected adversely.

This, Boko said, was so besides the fact that it was clear that the scheme of service concept was a new and unknown factor that meant that the affected employees could no longer progress unless they acquired the academic qualifications to meet the new criteria for progression.

He further submitted that before the introduction of the new scheme of service, the employees could progress to the level of Director since they fell within the professional cadre and that the new scheme of service had removed this prospect. Boko said this called for a hearing and that it showed that their removal from professional cadreship and placement in the technician cadre was unlawful.

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