Independent Online

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Like us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterView weather by locationView market indicators

GDE implemented gender equity plan fairly against recommended candidate, council finds

ELRC commissioner Gloria Rabyanyana found in favour of the department. “The applicant’s contention that the respondent failed to state that it was an equity position is a fallacy,” she wrote in her ruling.Image:Supplied

ELRC commissioner Gloria Rabyanyana found in favour of the department. “The applicant’s contention that the respondent failed to state that it was an equity position is a fallacy,” she wrote in her ruling.Image:Supplied

Published Apr 22, 2022

Share

The Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) did not act unfairly against a deputy principal it overlooked on grounds of gender equity for a principal post, an arbitrator has found.

Deputy principal Mzanywa Jeffrey Shongwe was shocked by the department’s 2021 decision not to appoint him as the principal of KwaThema-based Lefa-Ifa Secondary School, despite scoring the highest points in the panel interview.

Story continues below Advertisement

The interviewing panel also recommended Shongwe for appointment as principal of Lefa-Ifa, where he had been a deputy principal for 15 years.

GDE head Edward Mosuwe appointed a candidate who was ranked second by the interview panel.

Mosuwe based his decision on the facts including that the candidate was a woman and that the department had communicated a gender equity plan.

Story continues below Advertisement

A vacancies circular that the provincial department sent to schools and stakeholders in October 2020 detailed a plan to reverse the principalship gender imbalance. This imbalance favoured men.

Shongwe was informed of the factors considered for the decision to not appoint him. The department referred him to the gender equity plan.

In turn, Shongwe took the department to the Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC) to argue that the decision was unfair and a clear indication of bias.

Story continues below Advertisement

He submitted that the gender equity plan was used as an excuse to overlook him.

There was no indication in the advertisement that the gender equity plan would be implemented in the recruitment, Shongwe argued in arbitration.

He also submitted that he was the most suitable candidate for the job. In addition to being scored the highest by the interview panel, he had been a teacher for 29 years – for 15 of which he was a deputy principal.

Story continues below Advertisement

He was also studying for a master’s degree. Shongwe told the arbitration it also mattered that the appointed candidate was a principal at a primary school and not a secondary.

The department submitted in the arbitration that it acted fairly and lawfully by overlooking the recommended Shongwe for a woman candidate.

It said it was clear that the equity plan communicated in October 2020 plan was going to be applicable on the advertised position.

Furthermore, the scoring by the interview panel was not the only factor Mosuwe had to consider.

Mosuwe also enjoyed the powers to appoint anyone of the top three candidates recommended by the panel.

ELRC commissioner Gloria Rabyanyana found in favour of the department. “The applicant’s contention that the respondent failed to state that it was an equity position is a fallacy,” she wrote in her ruling.

“The implementation of employment equity did not come from nowhere. It came from the circular of 2020.”

This circular made it clear that gender equity was going to be considered for principal appointments, Rabyanyana said.

She concluded that GDE did not commit an act of unfair labour practice. “The implementation of gender equity and the head of department decision is justifiable and fair.”

Rabyanyana also dismissed Shongwe’s submissions that the appointed candidate did not qualify for the position because she lacked experience as deputy principal of a high school.

“According to the interview minutes, she was the deputy principal at the time of appointment,” Rabyanyana said.

“However, it is immaterial if she was a primary school principal or deputy principal as … she met the required experience for the position.”

The position required a minimum experience of seven years as a teacher. The appointee boasted teaching experience of 25 years.

Rabyanyana also said that the successful candidate already possessed a master’s degree. “She has more qualifications than the applicant, amongst others an honours degree.”

@BonganiNkosi87

Related Topics:

Share