ANC cadre takes DA to court for job

2012-08-04 18:23

No evidence of ANC member’s shutout being unfair, says judge

A City of Cape Town employee claims Western Cape transport and public works MEC Robin Carlisle refused to appoint her to a senior position because she is an ANC member.

But Ntombikayise Nombakuse, a Gugulethu subcouncil manager with the DA-run City of Cape Town, has failed in a court bid to prove that Carlisle discriminated against her because of political affiliation, race and gender.

In papers filed at the Labour Court in Cape Town, Nombakuse said Carlisle’s predecessor, Kholeka Mqulwana, appointed her as provincial public works executive manager in April 2009, just before the general elections.

At the time, the position paid R921 054 a year.

The ANC lost to the DA in the elections a few days after Nombakuse’s appointment and Carlisle replaced Mqulwana.

Nombakuse, who is the secretary of the ANC’s Gugulethu branch, said in court papers that she was appointed by the ANC administration and accused Carlisle of blocking her appointment.

She argued that the political affiliation of the administration which appointed her to the position and her own political allegiance resulted in discrimination against her.

Last week, Labour Court Judge Anton Steenkamp granted Carlisle’s department “absolution from the instance”, which means Nombakuse can reinstate her case if she accumulates evidence to support her claim.

Steenkamp found there was no evidence that Carlisle knew about Nombakuse’s political affiliation.

“It is common cause that the ANC-appointed MEC (Mqulwana) recommended Nombakuse’s appointment and that the DA-appointed MEC (Carlisle) revoked it,” the judge said.

However, he found that this “on its own was not enough to reasonably lead to the inference that it was politically motivated”.

Carlisle said in court papers that he had “several concerns” about Nombakuse’s appointment.

He said another applicant had disputed the appointment and also told the court that the process was “severely flawed”.

Once Carlisle was appointed, Nombakuse was informed that the post would no longer be filled, but would instead be ­readvertised.

In court papers, Nombakuse said she was told by a senior manager in Carlisle’s office: “You are naturally free and encouraged to submit another application once said post is advertised.”

Nombakuse’s lawyer, Wayne Field, declined to comment, saying he was not in a position to discuss his client’s instructions.

Nombakuse also declined to tell City Press whether she would attempt another court challenge.

Carlisle is also facing a legal challenge from his former spokesperson Steven Otter, who claims he was fired because he is a vegetarian and teetotaller.

The department denies dismissing Otter, saying he was transferred to another post for committing “crucial mistakes”.

Carlisle said he had never met Nombakuse. He said that when he became MEC, then head of department Thami Manyathi told him he did not wish to employ Nombakuse and gave several reasons for this.

“I agreed with Manyathi and instructed him to so advise her. All of these matters were established in the recent court case that she lost,” Carlisle said, adding that he was surprised and hurt by City Press’ questions.

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