White cop 'not against AA'

2009-11-19 23:36
Johannesburg - She's not on a crusade or trying to attack affirmative action - she's merely asking for compensation for a post which, strictly speaking, should have been hers.

This was the argument delivered on Thursday in the Johannesburg Labour Court by Captain Renate Barnard's legal team. Barnard is arguing that she should have been promoted to the level of superintendent, after allegedly being overlooked due to her skin colour.

Barnard, with the support of Solidarity, claims that even though she wasn't awarded the post, it was left vacant because no other suitable candidate could be found.

The police's defence on Monday was that promoting Barnard would have made their affirmative action targets even more difficult to meet.

Johannes Ramathoka, head of the Saps's employment equity unit in Pretoria, then testified that her appointment would have hampered their goal of reaching employment equity targets for post level nine, the level of superintendents.


On Thursday John Grogan, Barnard's legal representative, told Judge Paul Pretorius that they're not asking for Barnard to be appointed to another position, nor are they asking that she be promoted to superintendent.

"She's simply asking for the compensation which she would have received had she been appointed to the position for which she had applied."

Grogan suspects that Barnard didn't get the position simply because that would have "messed " with the police's affirmative action figures.

"But affirmative action is not the only aspect which should be kept in mind when filling a position, especially if no other candidate is then appointed to that position."

He said Barnard has no problem with affirmative action.

"But then it must be executed in the right way. Nobody benefited from the fact that she wasn't appointed. The position remained vacant and no-one else was suitable for the position."

Prevent imbalance

William Mokhare, the Saps's legal representative, said the fact that Barnard was not appointed was not intended to target her as an individual or to penalise her.

"It was to prevent an imbalance, since there had already been too many white women appointed on her post level.

"One can't look at this matter in a vacuum, but should see it as part of the bigger picture of affirmative action."

Mokhare said furthermore that the other (black and coloured) candidates who were recommended for the post along with Barnard, were not appointed either.

"Therefore this is no longer a matter of unfair discrimination, but rather one of Barnard's dissatisfaction with the fact that a position was not filled."

Pretorius reserved judgement.

'More concerned about AA than delivery'

Dirk Hermann, deputy chief executive of Solidarity, said on Thursday they were especially concerned about the police's legal team's "racial tirades" during the court case.

According to Hermann, Solidarity will be documenting the court proceedings and will send this documentation to Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa.

"We want to know from him whether the government also has such harsh, rigid opinions regarding affirmative action. His reaction will then determine our future actions."

According to Hermann, Barnard has a "strong legal case", but they also want to explore the political aspects of affirmative action.

"Mokhare acted on behalf of the Saps, in other words his opinions represent those of the Saps.

"And it's troublesome that the police are apparently more concerned about race and affirmative action than they are about service delivery."
Read more on:    saps  |  racism  |  saps equity case

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