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Presidential pardon restored Mashilo Masemola's pension, ConCourt says

The Constitutional Court said that struggle veteran Mashilo Masemola, who was found guilty of fraud and later pardoned by the president, should be paid his pension from 2011.

FILE: The Constitutional Court. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Constitutional Court said that struggle veteran Mashilo Masemola never lost his right to receive a pension even though he was convicted of fraud.

Now 92, Masemola was found guilty of fraud and his pension stopped in 2008. He was later pardoned by the president in 2011 and the court said he should be paid his pension from the date of that pardon.

The Special Pensions Appeal Board had argued that the conviction meant he had been disqualified.

But the Constitutional Court said the pardon changed this.

Mashilo Masemola appealed to the Constitutional Court after the Supreme Court agreed with the pensions board that he had forfeited his pension.

In a unanimous decision, the Constitutional Court agreed that the law was intended to discourage special pension recipients from committing serious offences.

But it said that the particular wording of Masemola’s pardon meant he should be treated as a person who had not been convicted at all.

The court also said that only the payment of a pension can be suspended, not the right to receive it and once the circumstances that disqualified one to receive the payment are removed, that payment should be restored.