Police allowed to appeal in Renate Barnard racial discrimination case

2014-09-02 12:08

The Constitutional Court has granted the South African Police Service leave to appeal against a ruling in an affirmative action case involving former Lieutenant-Colonel Renate Barnard.

“The following unanimous order is made ... leave to appeal is granted,” acting Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke said today.

The police service appealed against a Supreme Court of Appeal decision that it had discriminated against Barnard on the basis of race.

Moseneke said the appeal against the court of appeal decision was upheld.

“The order of the Supreme Court of Appeal is set aside,” he said.

The case goes back to 2005 when Barnard applied for the post of Lieutenant-Colonel, which was superintendent according to the old rankings, for the first time.

She had twice applied unsuccessfully for promotion to superintendent within the national evaluation services, which deals with complaints by the public and public officials about police services.

Despite recommendations by an interview panel and her divisional commissioner, the national police commissioner did not appoint her to the position on the basis that racial representation at the level of superintendent would be negatively affected.

The position was advertised for a third time, but was withdrawn when Barnard reapplied for it.

Solidarity’s lawsuit against the police, on behalf of Barnard, was referred to the Labour Court. In February 2010 the court ruled in the trade union’s favour.

The court ruled that Barnard be promoted retrospectively from July 27 2006 to superintendent (lieutenant-colonel according to the present ranks).

In May 2011, the police service was granted leave to appeal and in November 2012 the Labour Appeal Court held for the police.

The Supreme Court of Appeal ruled in November last year in favour of Barnard and the union. The police applied for leave to appeal in the Constitutional Court. The court heard the matter in March and judgment was reserved at the time.

Barnard resigned from the police in June.

Moseneke said today that the Labour Appeal Court’s decision was confirmed.

“There is no order as to costs to the Labour Court, to the Labour Appeal Court, to the Supreme Court of Appeal, and to this court,” he said.

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