SAPS affirmative action policies under scrutiny

A career management unit policeman told the Labour Court on Tuesday that the South African Police Service (SAPS) invited all employees to apply for posts knowing they were reserved for particular racial groups.

Senior Superintendent Johannes Phetholo Ramathoka was being cross-examined in a case involving a captain who claims she was overlooked for a senior position because she was white.

“What’s the purpose of allowing non-designated officers to apply for those positions where over-representation has been identified,” advocate Johan Grogan asked Ramathoka.

Grogan is representing Captain Renate Barnard on behalf of the trade union Solidarity.

Ramathoka replied: “The SAPS has to ensure it addresses affirmative action. But in our adverts we don’t say so ... applications are open to all employees.
It is the duty of the interview panel to decide.”

Grogan said he was going to argue that the SAPS’s failure to be clear about this in its advertisements was “cynical”.

Barnard, a police captain with 20 years experience, applied for the position of superintendent within the national inspectorate division in 2005 and again in 2006, but was not appointed despite the interview panel rating her the highest of all applicants.

Ramathoka said the then national police commissioner Jackie Selebi did not appoint Barnard because her appointment would not have helped the police achieve its employment equity goals.

“The appointment of the candidate was not going to be in line with guidelines provided by the equity guidelines. We have to reflect the country’s population ... national demographics,” said Ramathoka.

Grogan was expected to continue cross-examining Ramathoka from 2pm.—Sapa

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