The Constitutional Court. File picture: Tiro Ramatlhatse

Johannesburg - Trade union Solidarity has filed papers with the Constitutional Court opposing an SA Police Service (SAPS) application for leave to appeal against a ruling on affirmative action.

The union said on Tuesday that the ruling by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) had been in favour of Lt-Col Renate Barnard and the union.

The papers were filed on Monday, and the matter would be heard on March 20, said Solidarity spokesman Dirk Groenewald.

He said there was no basis in the police's application that would result in the Constitutional Court reaching a different finding than the ruling by the SCA.

“The application is a cynical move to deprive Barnard of the justice she is entitled to after her eight-year court battle.”

Earlier this month, Lt-Gen Solomon Makgale confirmed that the police were applying for leave to appeal to the Constitutional Court.

The SCA held in November that the SAPS had clearly discriminated against Barnard on the basis of race.

The SCA upheld an appeal against a decision of the Labour Appeal Court that overturned a decision of the Labour Court.

The Labour Court held that Barnard was unfairly discriminated against when she was not appointed to the promotion position of superintendent within a specialised unit of the SAPS, despite being the best candidate for the post.

Barnard had twice applied unsuccessfully for promotion to the position of superintendent within the then National Evaluation Services, which deals with complaints by the public and by public officials concerning the broad spectrum of police services.

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

Solidarity said at the time that it was shocked by the SAPS's decision to defend its unlawful race practices all the way to the Constitutional Court.

“We get the impression that the SAPS believes that affirmative action annuls the constitutional rights to equality and dignity of white employees like Barnard,” Solidarity executive officer Dirk Hermann said in a statement at the time.

Groenewald said on Tuesday that the police's affirmative action plan and its implementation was racist and sexist.

He said the then national commissioner Jackie Selebi had denied Barnard's promotion solely because it would have distorted the racial quotas on her post level.

“The (SCA) said in its ruling that Barnard would have been promoted if it had not been for (Selebi's) wrongful conduct,” Groenewald said.