23/12/2016 12:14 SAST | Updated 23/12/2016 14:00 SAST

Exclusive: Public Protector Mkhwebane Unfairly Fired A Special Advisor And The CCMA Ruled Against Her

The CCMA has ruled that the dismissal of Janine Hicks was unfair and that she should be compensated for the full contract.

Moeletsi Mabe/Sunday Times/Gallo Images/Getty Images
Public Protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has been ordered to pay former special advisor Janine Hicks for the duration of her contract after unfairly dismissing her when she took office.

The Huffington Post South Africa can reveal that the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) on Friday ruled in favour of Hicks.

Hicks worked on contract in the private office of then Public Protector Thuli Madonsela until Mkhwebane took over.

"My contract was terminated upon the departure of advocate Madonsela. I took the Public Protector South Africa to the CCMA and the issue to be determined was whether my contract was unfairly terminated. The CCMA found in my favour and I'm pleased with the outcome," she said.

I anticipate that the Public Protector will act fairly following the findings.

Hicks' contract was due to end in December but she has not been paid for the past three months. She was part of the quality assurance team for reports and is understood to be one of many people Mkhwebane pushed out when she took office. The new Public Protector said she wanted to surround herself with her own people and she was not conducting a witch hunt against those viewed to have been close to Madonsela.

Another person who was pushed out was Madonsela's chief of staff Bonginkosi Dhlamini. He was thrown out of the office earlier this month and accused of being a security threat to Mkhwebane. Dhlamini was replaced by customer services manager Linda Molelekoa in an acting capacity.

Hicks expressed satisfaction with the ruling but said she was waiting for Mkhwebane to decide on the way forward now.

"I anticipate that the Public Protector will act fairly following the findings," she said.

Sources within the organisation have painted a bleak picture of Mkhwebane's dealings. At least two people have indicated that she did not give anyone an opportunity to prove their worth and fight for their jobs but simply pushed people out.

"She did not give us a chance. Just because we were close to Thuli Madonsela we were seen as enemies. She was clearly briefed on everyone before coming to the office. We understand that every team that takes over comes with changes and new people for positions but she is doing it the wrong way. Even Madonsela changed her team but she did it in a way that did not belittle anyone. She took about four months getting to understand people's strengths before moving them around but Mkhwebane started doing so on the first day," said one source.

Questions have been sent to the Public Protector, and this story will be updated once comment is received.