ConCourt to hand down judgment on DCS employment equity plan

2016-07-15 09:25

Johannesburg - The Constitutional Court is expected to hand down judgment on trade union Solidarity’s lawsuit against the Department of Correctional Services’ employment equity plan.

The judgment could have wide-reaching implications on how employment equity is applied across the country.

In November last year, Solidarity argued that the department’s equity plan as it stood was wrong and allowed for unfair discrimination because it did not comply with the Employment Equity Act.

A key reason for this was that the plan did not look at regional demographics when promoting an employee and stuck rigidly to national demographics.

Regional demographics are the numbers of people according to race, or other factors such as disability, in a particular area. The department's plan apparently looked only at the national demographics; appointing people based on the race numbers across the country.

One of the arguments that it argued against national demographics was that some race groups might be higher in specific regions, like coloureds in the Western Cape, or Indians in Durban, and if the national demographics were taken into account, people from those groups would be unfairly discriminated against in their own areas.

At the heart of this case were judgments by the Labour Court and Labour Appeal Court on 10 Western Cape employees of the department, nine coloured and one white, who were not promoted despite being recommended for it, according to Solidarity.

The Labour Court ruled that the department had to ensure both national and regional demographics were taken into account when setting equity targets.

The department's plan, however, was not set aside by the court and no relief was provided for the 10 employees.

The matter was brought to the Labour Appeals Court, which dismissed appeals from both Solidarity and the department.

Solidarity and the employees then approached the Constitutional Court. 


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