Judgment reserved in police equity case

2013-11-07 07:37

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Bloemfontein - The Supreme Court of Appeal reserved judgment on Wednesday in the employment equity battle between Renate Barnard and the SA Police Service.

The case was brought by Barnard after the Labour Appeal Court found in favour of the police in November 2012.

The court held that it was not in a position to rule on whether the police commissioner had to fill a vacancy. It also could not rule how service delivery would be affected by the failure to fill a position.

Eight year battle

The decision followed a legal battle of more than eight years.

Barnard was twice denied a promotion to the position of superintendent of priority and regular complaints against the police, despite her being found to be the most suitable candidate for the position in both cases.

Barnard has more than 24 years' experience in the police.

Nazeer Cassiem SC, for the police, submitted that Barnard did not meet the police’s Employment Equity Plan's (EEP) requirements.

He contended that this plan was constitutionally sound, and that Barnard and other officers were subject to it.

The EEP held that white women were already over-represented at superintendent level by five employees, while black males were under-represented by eight.

It was believed that Barnard's appointment would perpetuate this imbalance.

Landmark case

However, the union Solidarity, which helped Barnard bring her case to trial, believed equity figures should not be the only determinant when making appointments in the public sector.

It hoped the SCA would find in its favour and test the constitutionality of race-based employment equity and how it related to the right to dignity of minority groups.

Solidarity believed this could be a landmark case for white employees in the police.

"This verdict could influence the direction of all employment equity cases in future," Solidarity deputy general secretary Dirk Hermann said in a press briefing before the trial.

He said there were eight similar cases of discrimination against the police service in the court system.

Martin Brassey SC, for Barnard, asked for compensation on an equitable scale, as remedy for the eight years Barnard has fought in court.

Read more on:    solidarity  |  police  |  renate barnard  |  saps equity case

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