Doctor Lukhele rejects E16 000 job
MBABANE – Faced with the prospect of jumping down from an executive pay package of about E90 000 per month to just E16 388, Doctor Lukhele opted to retire.
Before his appointment to the CEO post at SWADE, Lukhele worked for government as a Water Engineer.
After his contract with SWADE expired and was not renewed, government offered Lukhele, the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the parastatal, the Hydrologist post where he would be an ordinary civil servant.
SWADE is the Swaziland Water and Agricultural Development Enterprise.
The job Lukhele rejected was to be paid at the government scale E3, with a yearly package of E196 664.
At SWADE, he made this much in three months or less.
He was scheduled to net E12 443.74 after the Pay-as-You-Earn tax deduction, which amounts to about E3 944.92 according to calculations using the formula provided in booklets distributed by the Swaziland Revenue Authority (SRA).
Lukhele declined the post and opted to stay at home on early retirement.
He therefore retires as a government hydrologist and his benefits will be calculated based on the salary scale for that job.
The E90 000 pay is derived from court papers submitted by SWADE.
The public enterprise made this submission in its appeal to the court for Lukhele’s dismissal following the appeal case at the Supreme Court, the organisation argued that it would not be able to get back the money from Lukhele if he lost the case and stated that he would have been enriched unlawfully.
The job the Civil Service Commission (CSC) offered Lukhele was tenable at the Ministry of Natural Resources and Energy.
The CSC made the offer to Lukhele in May 2012.
He rejected the post through a letter he wrote to the Commission on May 31, 2012.
The offer came immediately after Lukhele lost the marathon court case where he wanted the court’s assistance for a stay as SWADE CEO post.
He was offered the job following government employment procedure, which states that upon the end of their secondment, officers revert to their old posts.
The CSC did not offer him his old post of water engineer but offered him the position of hydrologist, which is equivalent in terms of payment.
Allen McFadden, CSC’s Executive Secretary said he was aware that Lukhele had declined the post offered to him by government.
He said he opted to take early retirement and the Commission respected that. Government had, therefore, accepted his request to retire.
Mcfadden said Lukhele retired from the civil service as a hydrologist, the post he was offered by the Commission.
While Lukhele’s matter was pending in court, he was paid close to E1 170 000 while sitting at home.
He had been suspended in May 2011 and the case was concluded in May 2012.
SWADE had continued paying him following a court interdict which forced SWADE to continue paying him his salary.
In March 2012
, the SWADE board went to the Supreme Court seeking an order allowing them to appeal Judge Esther Ota’s ruling prohibiting them from stopping Lukhele’s salary.
However, Chief Justice Michael Ramodibedi, presiding over the matter together with acting Supreme Court Judges Mbutfo Mamba and Mary Sey, dismissed SWADE’s appeal.
When the application was heard, SWADE submitted that it spent E90 000 a month on Lukhele’s salary and argued that if the latter was to be dismissed following the appeal case at the Supreme Court, the organisation would not be able to get back the money and he would have been enriched unlawfully.
Indeed, on May 30, 2012, the Supreme Court dismissed Lukhele’s application in which he had challenged a High Court judgment by Judge Bheki Maphalala who had found he had never had a tacitly renewed contract with SWADE. Supreme Court Judge Stanley Moore with presiding Judge Ahmed Ebrahim and Dr Seth Twum said Judge Maphalala was correct to find that Lukhele’s contract had not been tacitly renewed.
This judgment effectively ended Lukhele’s employment with the parastatal.
Besides the full salary, Lukhele had also enjoyed use of a rented car that was fully paid for by the public enterprise.
He used a rented Mercedes Benz C-class at a cost of not less than E930 per day. SWADE was paying the fees for the hired executive class vehicle.
Efforts to get Lukhele’s comment hit a snag because he was unreachable on the cellphone number he uses. Reporters also visited his residence at Thembelihle Township, Mbabane and he was not found there.
A security at the place said Lukhele had moved out of the residence.
The CSC was also called for his contacts and officers provided a number which was unavailable on the network.
His former colleagues at SWADE also gave a number that was no longer in use.
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