South Africa: ConCourt Reinstates Struggle Veteran's Special Pension After Fraud Conviction

analysis

The Constitutional Court has ruled that the right to a special pension, which has been disqualified as a result of the conviction for an offence, may be restored where a presidential pardon has been granted and the reason for the disqualification has fallen away.

The Constitutional Court has ruled that a person convicted of a listed offence and who forfeited their right to a special pension as a result, may have their pension reinstated if they have been granted a presidential pardon.

The court rejected the opposing argument that a pardon only operates proactively and can therefore not undo the consequences of a conviction.

Instead, in a unanimous decision handed down by Justice Nonkosi Mhlantla on Tuesday 15 October 2019, the Constitutional Court found that a pardoned person, from the date of the pardon, is legally to be treated as a person who had not been convicted of an offence.

Justice Mhlantla held that while special pension recipients must be deterred and discouraged from committing serious offences, "where the reasons for the disqualification have fallen away, a person will be able to receive their special pension... The right itself is not terminated; it is the receiving of the monthly payment...

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