Former judge battles for back pay 16 years after quitting as judge

02 July 2017 - 00:00 By PHILANI NOMBEMBE

To ensure judicial independence, judges retain their salaries for the rest of their lives after retiring or being discharged from the bench.
But for Willem Heath, this is a distant dream, because he opted to resign after former president Thabo Mbeki refused to discharge him from the bench in 2001.
Heath, 72, is now suing President Jacob Zuma and the justice minister in the High Court in Cape Town. He wants Mbeki's decision set aside. He is also seeking payment of his benefits from the date of his resignation in 2001. High court judges earn R1,765,934 a year, which means Heath could be due a payout of more than R28-million if he wins.
The former judge also takes umbrage at Mbeki's utterances about his role in the arms deal probe while he was head of the Special Investigating Unit (SIU).

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