04/09/2014. Renate Barnard smiles after talking about her failed court bid at the ConCourt. Picture: Masi Losi

Pretria - Solidarity is to approach the Labour Court to compel the South African Police Service to consult with the union on the new SAPS affirmative action plan.

Solidarity chief executive Dirk Hermann said the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) and the South African Police Union (Sapu) did not protect the interests of minority officers, so Solidarity would fight for them.

“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. Solidarity is the only union in the police prepared to fight for the rights of minorities,” Hermann said.

The case will be heard in the Labour Court on October 9.

The SAPS is not the only state department that will face union Solidarity’s wrath over affirmative action laws.

According to Solidarity counsel advocate Dirk Groenewald, the union has a similar action against the Department of Correctional Services and hope to in future take action against other government structures.

This follows a Constitutional Court judgment earlier this week in favour of the SAPS and against former lieutenant-colonel Renate Barnard. The case dates back to 2005 when she applied for the post of lieutenant-colonel, or superintendent according to the old rankings.

She twice applied unsuccessfully for promotion to superintendent within the police’s national evaluation services, which deals with complaints about police.

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.

The position was advertised for a third time, but was withdrawn when Barnard reapplied. On Thursday Barnard said she was not against affirmative action.

“Why must we have quotas? Why must we have this fight? We must take politics out of the police. Police officers are definitely not politicians. Career police officers want to make a difference.”

Groenewald said they launched a case about unfair discrimination against the Department of Correctional Services last week after a white man who had been working in an acting capacity for over a year was not shortlisted for the job once it was advertised.

Instead, only black women - who are under-represented in the department - were shortlisted for the post.

The man, who feels he is better qualified for the job than any of the other candidates who applied, took up the case with Solidarity’s help.

“Departments enforce absolute representation,” Groenewald said.

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