In yet another case of racial discrimination by the South African government, affirmative action was hit for a six as a white veterinary nurse overlooked for promotion must now be paid retroactive benefits and compensation by the SA Police Service (SAPS).
The trade union Solidarity received the victory on behalf of a member – in a settlement out of court – that was unfairly treated due to unfair racial discrimination. It follows after the SAPS once again overlooked a suitable candidate who met all the requirements, because his appointment wouldn’t have promoted race demographics.
According to Anton van der Bijl, Head of the Solidarity’s Centre for Fair Labour Practices, Mr Coetzee has been a police officer in the SAPS for 31 years. On 29 June 2015, he applied for the position of Commander: Veterinary Nurse with the rank Lieutenant and he got the highest score of all the applicants during the interview process. “Despite the fact that Mr Coetzee was named as the best and preferred candidate by the panel, a black woman who didn’t have the necessary experience to perform all the functions of the post, was appointed,” said Van der Bijl.
Van der Bijl said that Mr Coetzee will receive retroactive benefits and compensation within 30 days on the rank of lieutenant/captain, as if he were appointed in the post. “We are delighted that this matter can come to an end, but we cannot emphasise enough that the SAPS will function more effectively if they give the necessary recognition to competent police officers despite their race, gender or other arbitrary grounds,” said Van der Bijl.
“We are beginning to see that there is an increasing degree of discouragement among police officers and through matters like this we would like to be a beacon of light and hope in dark times,” concluded Van der Bijl.