Legal action looms over SAPS equity plan

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iol news pic SAPS parade INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS Newly graduated members of the South African Police Service during a passing out parade. Fdile picture: Phill Magakoe

Johannesburg - Trade union Solidarity will approach the Labour Court to order the SA Police Service to consult the trade union on its affirmative action plan.

“We are not going to sit back and meekly accept the racial discrimination against our members,” chief executive Dirk Hermann said at a media briefing in Johannesburg.

This comes after the Constitutional Court's ruling on Tuesday in favour of SAPS and against former police member Renate Barnard regarding the police's application of affirmative action.

“This new court case is one in a series of actions by Solidarity to fight back after the controversial Constitutional Court ruling against Barnard,” said Hermann.

The court on Tuesday set aside an order of the Supreme Court of Appeal that the SAPS discriminated against Barnard by not promoting her.

Acting Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke said in his majority judgment that the SAPS employment equity plan was not challenged.

The court found the plan was lawfully and rationally implemented by the police commissioner in the matter concerning Barnard.

Barnard's affirmative action case goes back to 2005 when she applied for the post of lieutenant-colonel, which was superintendent according to the old rankings, for the first time.

She twice applied unsuccessfully for promotion to superintendent within the police's national evaluation services, which deals with complaints by the public and public officials about police services.

Despite recommendations by an interview panel and her divisional commissioner, the national police commissioner did not appoint her to the position on the basis that racial representation at the level of superintendent would be negatively affected.

Hermann said the union wanted to negotiate with police on the affirmative action plans as they were conducting 20 cases of unfair discrimination against them on behalf of its members.

“We believe it is better to consult pro-actively than to litigate reactively,” Hermann said.

He said Solidarity's written requests to police commissioner Riah Phiyega to be involved in the negotiations on the plan had gone unanswered.

Hermann added that Solidarity was the only union that protected the rights of the minority groups within the SAPS, as the two police unions, the Police and Prisons Civil Right Union (Popcru) and the SA Policing Union (Sapu), were unable to do so.

“It is clear to us that Popcru and Sapu, the two recognised police unions involved with the drafting of the current affirmative action plan, are not prepared to represent the interests of policemen and women from non-designated and minority groups,” said Hermann.

The union now intended to tackle the source of the unfair implementation of affirmative action, namely irrational affirmative action plans.

“Solidarity will intensify its actions against companies and organisations that abuse affirmative action in order to discriminate unfairly against minorities,” Hermann said.

Sapa


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