Durban Metro Police Head, Steve Middleton along with officers from the bike unit. The bargaining council ruled in December that Middleton’s appointment as head of metro police was unfair. Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency(ANA)
Durban Metro Police Head, Steve Middleton along with officers from the bike unit. The bargaining council ruled in December that Middleton’s appointment as head of metro police was unfair. Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency(ANA)

Unfair appointment cost eThekwini Municipality millions

By Siboniso Mngadi Time of article published May 9, 2021

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Durban - The “sidelining” of better-qualified candidates for top positions has cost the eThekwini Municipality millions in compensation for those who should have been considered for the job.

This comes after the bargaining council ruling in December stipulating that the appointment of Steve Middleton, head of metro police was unfair.

Subsequently, the bargaining council issued a quantification award last week where it detailed how the candidates who had applied for the position should be compensated.

On the award, Charles Oakes, the commissioner of the KwaZulu-Natal Bargaining Council ordered the municipality to pay two senior metro police almost R3 million each in compensation and a protected promotion to the level of the head of metro police.

The “sidelining” of better-qualified candidates for top positions has cost the eThekwini Municipality millions in compensation for those who should have been considered for the job. Picture Leon Lestrade/African News Agency(ANA).

The two cops, Aubrey Mthethwa, a senior-superintendent and Nhlanhla Mthethwa, an assistant commissioner had through their union, Samwu, successfully challenged the appointment of Middleton.

Both had applied for the post which was awarded to Middleton in 2018.

They had claimed Middleton’s appointment was not in line with the metro police employment equity policy and there was no motivation to support it as per the municipal policy.

The union further argued that Middleton had never been a registered traffic officer and lacked the basic skills required for that job. In addition, the South African Police Services Act, which allowed for the establishment of a metro police force, stipulated that the head of metro police should be appointed by a sitting of the full council – which had not happened.

Accordingly, the Bargaining Council ruled that Middleton’s appointment was unfair.

At the time Oakes said the failure by eThekwini to appoint either of the Mthethwas who were both interviewed for the job, was unfair as they were more qualified than Middleton.

In last week's quantification award, Oaks detailed how the city should pay all affected applicants.

He ordered the city to pay Mthethwa's R2 826 852, 30 and all additional remuneration due to them as a result of the retrospective operation of the promotion, minus such amounts as the employer is in terms of the law obliged or entitled to deduct.

He said the amounts were a 30 months back bay from which the appointment was made.

“The appointment was made on about June 3, 2018. The back pay must, therefore, be calculated from June 3 to December 3, 2020, the date when the award was issued.

In this regard, the head of Metro Police task grade 22 basic salary is R92 228, 41 per month. I am limited to calculating the back pay based on the basic salary as the information provided does not include the gross salary of task grade 22,” said Oaks on the quantification award.

He also ordered the city to award the other three applicants over R4 000 000 each which was based on the six months back pay calculated from their earnings per month.

The municipality was ordered to pay all the compensation no later than the end of this month.

Msawakhe Mayisela, City spokesperson, said the awards were appealed by the municipality and it asked to be given time until the matters were finalised.

Sunday Tribune

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