Manyi's plan already in operation in WCape - Solidarity

Union taking the case of Pieter Davids vs DCS to the CCMA

Solidarity takes on Correctional Services at CCMA over affirmative action in Western Cape: Manyi's plans already carried out in WC

Trade union Solidarity and the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) will meet each other at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) tomorrow over the DCS's implementation of affirmative action. Solidarity is challenging the Department's short-sighted application of the principle of absolute representation in a case where it is representing Pieter Davids, a member of the trade union.

"The DCS's implementation of affirmative action comes down to nothing more than a racial count. In terms of this approach, the goal of counteracting the effects of past discrimination falls by the wayside and race becomes the only concern," said Dirk Hermann, Deputy General Secretary of Solidarity.

The DCS does not take the demographics of the Western Cape, skills, experience or service delivery into account in its implementation of affirmative action. Instead, it is playing a numbers game by trying to apply the national demographics to the Western Cape. This approach to affirmative action amounts to a quota system which is not in line with the Employment Equity Act.

The DCS's implementation of affirmative action is in keeping with the controversial statements by Jimmy Manyi, former Director-General of Labour and current Cabinet Spokesperson, that there was an over-concentration of Coloureds in the Western Cape. According to Manyi, every place in South Africa should become a replica of the country's national demographics. Manyi merely expressed government policy and the DCS and other organs of the state like the South African Police Service (SAPS) are putting that policy into practice. Manyi voiced the government's position so successfully that he is now the Cabinet Spokesperson.

The DCS is not the only state department to implement the policy in this manner. Solidarity is involved in similar cases against the SAPS. The trade union will also meet with legal representatives of the FW de Klerk Foundation in the course of the week to discuss similar cases of the Foundation that were heard by the CCMA and referred to the Labour Court last week.

"We trust that these cases will make it to the Constitutional Court where we will obtain a final ruling on the constitutionality of absolute representation," said Hermann.

The DCS held interviews with five candidates, including Davids, in September 2010 for the position of Assistant Director of Human Resources Administration. Davids was the chosen candidate for the position. None of the other candidates were qualified for the position, yet Davids was not appointed because the principle of absolute representation was applied. The post was left vacant.The Deputy Regional Head of the DCS in the Western Cape sent a memorandum to the National Commissioner of Correctional Services following the interview process, requesting that the Department deviate from the affirmative action plan, as Davids was the best candidate and his appointment would have been in the best interest of service delivery. The National Commissioner recommended, however, that the position be re-advertised and an "equity candidate" be found.

"To put it simply, Davids will not be considered for the position again, purely on the grounds of his race, even though he was clearly the best candidate during the first round of interviews. Davids is not the only casualty of this approach, as it has a negative impact on service delivery as well," according to Herman.

Davids has been with the DCS since 1986 and has 24 years' experience in human resources administration. Moreover, he has received several awards for managerial excellence and has been named the best human resources administrator in the region in the past.

This is the 19th case regarding the unfair implementation of affirmative action at the expense of service delivery that Solidarity has undertaken on behalf of members in the SAPS and the DCS.

Statement issued by Dirk Hermann, Deputy General Secretary, Solidarity, and Dirk Groenewald, Head: Labour Court Division, Solidarity, March 4 2012

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