Political favours not considered in Parliament staff appointments, CCMA told

Cape Town – Political favours were not considered in Parliament budget office (PBO) appointments, the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration heard on Tuesday.

Nor were political consultations made, Shanaaz Gabier, who works in human resources in Parliament, said. 

Gabier was testifying at a CCMA hearing between Parliament and former PBO employee Dr Sean Muller.

Muller alleged he was overlooked for promotion to a deputy director position because he refused to do political favours, including writing speeches.

He believed he should have been appointed to the deputy director of economics post over Seeraj Mohamed. He had a PhD and Mohamed only had a master’s degree.

During cross-examination on Tuesday, Muller asked Gabier about the “overlooking” of his qualifications and performance during the selection process.

Gabier argued that the successful candidate only had to meet the minimum requirements to be shortlisted and was then chosen following an interview process.

Muller raised concerns that a former ANC MP was part of the selection process, and said this could be viewed as political consultation.

Gabier told the commission that including internal candidates' performance scores would have prejudiced external applicants.

“Is it rational, do you think, to ignore someone who has worked in the department for 18 months and has acted in said position for three months and appoint someone who is defending a PhD, as Mohamed stated in his application?” Muller asked.

Earlier in the two-day session, Muller questioned four witnesses about claims that PBO employees were used to do political and academic work. None of his witnesses could attest to this.

Two witnesses called on Tuesday denied having assisted Minister Des van Rooyen in his academic work. One said Muller's version was “loosely related to reality”.

Commissioner Madeleine Loyson postponed the matter to 2017 when one more witness would be called.

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