Bisexual teacher fights back

2004-10-21 09:30

Cape Town - A bisexual art teacher, who applied for a post at Jan van Riebeeck High School, claims he was discriminated against during his interview.

Riaan Vosloo plans to file a complaint with the equality court.

He claims the school's principal, Hammies van Niekerk, questioned him on his marital status, circle of friends and sexual orientation during an interview.

"He asked whether I was married. When I said 'no', he said he should probably not ask why. He also asked whether I have male or female friends. I asked whether he was referring to romantic friends. He said 'yes'."

Vosloo said Van Niekerk asked him downright whether he was gay. The principal allegedly said that one encounters a number of very "weird types" in the art world.

Ashraf Mahomed of the South African Human Rights Commission said, depending on the facts in this case, it could be a prima facie violation of the equality clause in the constitution.

Van Niekerk said in his reaction that the content of an interview was confidential and personal. He denied questioning Vosloo on his sexual preferences.

He did ask about Vosloo's marital status and friends.

The Western Cape education department expressed its concerns over the allegation. Paddy Attwell, director of communication, said the case would be investigated if Vosloo filed a charge with the department.

Attwell said sexual orientation should not play a role in appointments. "Section 9 of the Constitution, which deals with equality, points out that the state may not unfairly discriminate against someone because of that person's sexual orientation.

"Section 7(1) of the Appointment of Educators Act stipulates that institutions should comply with the principles of the constitution when making appointments."