Junior diplomat fights recall

Junior diplomat fights recall

MASERU – A policewoman who is working as a driver at the Lesotho High Commission in Pretoria has filed an urgent application in the High Court challenging a decision by the government to recall her. ’Mamotebang Napo wants the High Court to declare her recall null and void and a violation of the rules of natural justice. She argues she was not given a hearing by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Napo is challenging a letter written by the Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary, Nkopane Monyane, dated October 11 in which he informed her that the Ministry of Police had “decided to re-assign you other duties within the Ministry”.
“You are therefore recalled from the Foreign Service, as I hereby do, and you should therefore report at the Headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Relations on 1 November, 2017,” Monyane’s letter reads.

“The details regarding your new assignment will be communicated to you when you report back at the Ministry of Police Headquarters.”
Napo however argues that she is staying in Pretoria with her two daughters who are still in school.
She says her second child has not yet completed her high school and by December 2018 “she will be left with a few months towards completion of her high school studies”.

“I am and will not be able to find for her an alternative school (in Lesotho),” Napo says. “I stay with her in the same house. The accommodation cost for her if she is to find an alternative one will be nearly M80 000 per annum,” she says, adding: “I will not be able to afford to pay with my police salary.” “My husband is a businessman who tenders as and when there are projects. They are not available presently. He is also depending on me for . . . survival,” she says.

“My immediate re-assignment and recall is therefore highly prejudicial from the family life, social, financial, children’s welfare perspective.”
Napo also says the re-assignment is also illegal as it had been “done without the involvement of the Ministry of Public Service”.
Napo says she receives an allowance of M13 000 on top of her normal salary and that “such proprietary interest and rights cannot be taken away without a hearing”.

In his answering affidavit, Monyane says Napo “has been legally and lawfully recalled” and as a driver the law “clearly states that an officer may be transferred or recalled before the expiry of his or her duty”. Monyane also says Napo should have communicated her objections internally instead of rushing “to court before even exhausting the local remedies through lines of communications”.

“There is no law which says that the Ministry of Public Service must be involved when the process of re-assignment or recall is exercised except where the appointment is either on permanent and pensionable terms, contract, temporary or casual terms as it appears in Chapter II titled – Appointments, mobility and termination of service into the Public Service,” Monyane says.

He says allowances enjoyed by individuals serving in the foreign services are part and parcel of the calling in such posts and upon expiration automatically fall away. “The issues relating to appointments and promotions in the police service are excised by the Commissioner of Police in terms of the law,” he says.

Monyane says Napo “does not have a clear right”. “A clear right which is alleged by the applicant is not at all supported by law, an officer may be transferred or re-called before the expiry of his or her tour of duty in a foreign mission,” he says.

Staff Reporter

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