Former analyst adamant he deserved Parliament position

Cape Town - A former parliamentary employee who claims he was unfairly overlooked for a promotion is adamant he was the highest-scoring internal candidate and should have been given the job.

Former Parliament budget office analyst Dr Sean Muller has taken the institution to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), arguing he was unfairly overlooked for a promotion to the post of deputy director of economics.

Cross-examining Shanaaz Gabier, who works in human resources in Parliament, Muller outlined the procedural issues he believed were overlooked during the appointment processes.

Muller was shortlisted, interviewed, and underwent psychometric testing. After a six-month-long recruitment process, the position was offered to Seeraj Mohamed instead.

Muller said he was more qualified for the job because he had a PhD, while Mohamed did not.

He had acted in the job for three months and had the relevant experience, Muller told the CCMA in 2016.

READ: Political favours not considered in Parliament staff appointments, CCMA told

Preferred candidates

On Thursday, he again insisted that a PhD was required for the position.

In addition, he believed he was the highest-scoring internal candidate and should have been given preference over an external candidate.

Gabier disputed this on Thursday, and said he was not the highest-scoring candidate.

Muller believed his name and Mohamed’s were forwarded as preferred candidates for the position, but that his name “disappeared”.

“Did the panel consider that as an internal candidate, even without the highest score, I should be given preference as an internal candidate at all?” Muller asked.

“You were not a recommended candidate for this post. You were not the highest-scoring applicant,” Gabier responded.

Muller questioned if Parliament’s policy on internal candidates was considered during the appointment process.

He queried the delay in making the appointment, and changes to panel members’ score sheets.

He believed that if the scores of some of the panel members had remained unchanged, he would have scored the same as, or higher than, Mohamed.  

When Gabier failed to answer Muller’s questions to his satisfaction, he accused her of “misleading the process”. She took offence at this.

Muller, who alleged that appointments were based on political favours, again questioned the involvement of politicians in the interview process.

The panel members were there in their professional capacity, and not as politicians, he was again told.

The matter was being heard by commissioner Madeleine Loyson. The commission would hear testimony from Parliament’s budget office director, Professor Mohammed Jahed, on Thursday afternoon.

Muller had accused him instructing staff to do favours for politicians, including academic work.

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