ConCourt rules on SAPS age limit

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Johannesburg - The Constitutional Court on Thursday denied a reservist leave to appeal a judgment that he does not qualify for a permanent post in the police because of his age.

“The application for leave to appeal is refused. There is no order as to costs,” Judge Edwin Cameron said in a majority ruling.

The court found Daluxolo Nicholas Sali did not raise a constitutional issue against the police's regulations in the labour court and therefore was not allowed to raise it on appeal.

“A job seeker, reservist or non-reservist, seeking to challenge the age requirements of the SAPS must frontally attack regulation 11(1),” Cameron said.

“Mr Sali....does not tackle the biggest question in it: the validity of the regulation that is the ultimate source of his grievance.”

The regulation stipulates that to become a member of the police, an applicant must be between 18 and 30. This was later amended to a 40-year maximum age limit.

Sali approached the Constitutional Court after he was successful at a job interview for a permanent post with the police, but not appointed because he was above the age limit.

At the time of his job interview he had been working as a reservist.

Sali applied for a permanent position when he was 41 and eight months. He had been with the police since August 2006.

In 2009, he was informed that his application was successful. He was required to undergo tests, which he completed satisfactorily, but was not provided with an employment contract.

When Sali asked for his contract he was told he had not been appointed because he was too old.

Sali argued in the Constitutional Court that the relevant regulation and recruitment policy should be declared invalid because it constituted unfair discrimination on the basis of age.

Sali took the case to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration, but was unsuccessful.

The labour court ruled in favour of the police. It held that because the age requirement was given legal force by regulations, it could not be challenged under the Employment Equity Act.

Sapa


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