White cop wins AA challenge
Johannesburg - In a landmark affirmative action case on Friday, the Labour Court ruled that the South African Police Service should promote Captain Renate Barnard to superintendent.
Trade union Solidarity, on behalf of Barnard, approached the Labour Court to ensure Barnard's promotion.
The court found in favour of Solidarity and Barnard and ordered the SA Police Service to pay the applicant's costs.
Solidarity general secretary Dirk Hermann said the judgment was a victory for all South Africans.
"We are absolutely delighted. The judgment brought about a new direction in affirmative action," he said after the judgment was handed down.
"This means for the police service that merit is also critical for affirmative action."
Barnard, at the time of the dispute, was responsible for investigating priority and ordinary complaints against the SA Police service. In 2005 a superintendent level position was created by the police to improve service to the public in view of handling complaints. In that year Barnard and six other applicants applied for the position. An interview panel gave her 86.7% for the interview and recommended her unanimously.
"Captain Barnard was 17.5% better than the next applicant from the designated group. In view of this fact the interview panel recommended that should she not get the position, it will adversely affect service delivery," Hermann said.
However the Saps divisional commissioner recommended that the position not be filled, saying that her appointment would not promote representation.
This, said Hermann, was despite the fact that Barnard was a woman and therefore part of the designated group in terms of the Employment Equity Act.
After pursuing internal grievance procedures without success, the case was referred to the Labour Court.
Barnard, on Friday, wearing a teal ankle length dress told reporters outside the court how happy the ruling had made her.
"It was not an easy road, but I am so relieved," she said.
"Thank you to my father in heaven and to Solidarity."
The judgment stipulated that she would be promoted to the post of superintendent with effect from July 2006.