Solidarity, SAPS lock horns over affirmative action

2015-01-27 22:53

The new ranking system of the SA Police Service has been deemed "inflexible" by the Labour Court in Johannesburg, says trade union Solidarity.

Solidarity today said it was the first victory for the union in the case against the ranking system after the court found that the system was not flexible.

However, the SA Police Service responded by saying Solidarity's claim misrepresented the court's findings.

Solidarity claimed the court indicated that the SAPS had not followed a flexible process when it promoted police members according to its new ranking system in 2011.

Union spokesperson Dirk Groenewald said the Employment Equity Act provided for the use of numerical race targets for granting promotions and making appointments.

"The use of quotas, which is tantamount to the reservation of jobs, however, is not allowed because of the fact that it is inflexible," said Groenewald.

He said the SAPS would tomorrow bring a formal application to amend its pleadings before the court.

Solidarity would then study the application to decide whether to oppose it.

"Solidarity believes today's ruling yet again proves that the process the SAPS had followed in making the promotions is nothing but a quota system," said Groenewald.

Solidarity said the police argued that the promotion of police members done in accordance with its new ranking system was flexible and that race was not a definite criterion.

However, the court indicated that the SAPS could not prove in its pleadings that the process was flexible, it said.

"At the request of Solidarity, the court then ruled that the SAPS was bound by its argument as indicated in its pleadings, after which the SAPS requested to amend its pleadings," said the trade union.

National police spokesperson Lt-Gen Solomon Makgale said that the court had not made a ruling about whether the system was flexible or not.

"All the court said was that SAPS should amend its document to include remarks about the flexibility of the system," he said.

He said the statement by Solidarity was "an amateurish attempt" by the labour union to "misrepresent, for their benefit, the court proceedings".

"The crux of this matter is that Solidarity does not want the SAPS to take employment equity into account when promoting personnel. They only want white officers to be promoted," he said.

"Our policy caters for all races and we want to ensure that we finalise this matter speedily so that we can promote our police officers," said Makgale.

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