Solidarity begins major legal process against the SAPS

Trade union Solidarity said it will begin a major legal process against the South African Police Service (SAPS). The process includes, among other things, an urgent court application against promotions and appointments made based on the SAPS’s current employment equity plan. Solidarity contends this plan amounts to a quota system and that its members are being unfairly discriminated against in the process.

Last week, Solidarity warned Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko as well as acting Police Commissioner Lt Gen Johannes Khomotso Phahlane, that no appointments or promotions should be made in the service in terms of its current plan (valid from 2015 to 2019). In response, the Minister and the acting Police Commissioner said they would continue to make appointments and promotions on the basis of the plan.

According to Anton van der Bijl, Head of Solidarity’ s Centre for Fair Labour Practices, the trade union has no choice but to approach the court as a matter of urgency to declare the effect of the plan null and void. “The SAPS’s current affirmative action plan is similar to the Police’s previous affirmative action plan declared unconstitutional by the Labour Court in January this year. Therefore, the current plan amounts in essence to the same unfair discrimination and should thus be declared invalid,” Van der Bijl said.

Van der Bijl says the purpose of Solidarity’s legal action against the police service is not only to challenge the current affirmative action plan and to try to negate its impact but to begin with a major campaign against all the police’s unfair labour practices “The public deserves an efficient police service where the best persons, regardless of race and gender, are promoted and appointed. We simply cannot stand by and watch how persons are assessed purely based on a rigid, numerical quota system for appointments and promotions. Moreover, we contend that appointments and promotions in the police service should be based on merit,” Van der Bijl said.

Johan Kruger, Deputy General Secretary of Solidarity, gives more information on the case:

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