Moyane 'surprised' by retirement

The former prisons boss has confirmed he is seeking legal advice about his 'retirement'.

Former National Commissioner of Correctional Services Tom Moyane. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA.

JOHANNESBURG - Former National Commissioner of Correctional Services Tom Moyane has confirmed he is seeking legal advice about his 'retirement'.

The Department of Correctional Services on Monday announced Moyane had reached retirement age and an acting commissioner would step in to continue his work.

But questions are now being asked about the timing of what now appears to be the forced retirement of Moyane.

Moyane's five year contract is only due to expire in 2015, a fact that would've been known when he was hired at the age of 57 in 2010.

Speaking to Talk Radio 702's John Robbie on Tuesday morning, Moyane said he was surprised by news of his retirement.

When asked if he had been pushed out of his position, Moyane said he's not going to put it in those words, but said he had been 'retired'.

Moyane turned 60 in January, but was only summoned by Minister of Correctional Services Sibusiso Ndebele to discuss his age late last month.

It's understood Moyane was under the impression that he was due to have a follow up meeting with the minister last week before a final decision was taken.

But this meeting never took place.

He said he was informed that legal opinion sought indicated he needs to retire because he had reached the age of 60.

"When I was informed legal opinion was being sought on this matter I think I am like any other South African duty-bound to look at the documents before me and equally seek legal opinion as to what had gone wrong in the contract I had signed with the state."

He said the minister made the announcement.

When asked if he had stepped on anyone's toes, he said he didn't think so.

"I have a good relationship with the entire department including the minister and deputy minister. I think like any other person who leads an organisation, it's important you maintain a relationship that helps the organisation move forward. Where we differ is based on professional engagement."

He said he thinks he has done the job to the best of his ability.

"Bearing in mind that in any institution, a leader can't just do things on his own. You depend on the support of the people around you. I must say I've enjoyed the support of my entire leadership team, the minister and deputy minister. Be as it may, I have executed my responsibilities to the best of my ability."

Moyane said while he is disappointed, he still maintains hope the situation might change.

"Of course I will have to accept it and see what happens going forward. I just want to emphasise I maintain a very cordial relationship with everyone I worked with from the time I walked into the correctional services and I hope things will pan out differently going forward."

The department denies anything unusual or controversial lies behind Moyane's retirement.

Chief Operating Officer Nontsikelelo Jolingana has been appointed as acting commissioner.