Johannesburg - The correctional services department vowed on Thursday to defend a case brought by trade union Solidarity against its affirmative action practices.
"We believe strongly that this has nothing to do with discrimination as appointments... have included all racial groups, as informed by a need to maintain a delicate and dynamic balance to meet our equity targets," spokesperson Manelisi Wolela said in a statement.
The trade union was challenging the government's affirmative action practices and questioning why a white candidate, Herman Denysschen, was not given a job in the department.
In papers filed with the Johannesburg Labour Court, the union claims the position was not advertised as a designated post for achieving affirmative action targets. It states that all interested applicants who complied with the minimum set requirements, irrespective of race of gender, had a right to apply.
Denysschen was shortlisted for the post in July 2007 and interviewed by a panel which recommended him for the position.
He later received notification that the post of assistant director systems management would not be filled as it did not fit equity plans.
Solidarity deputy secretary general Dirk Hermann told reporters outside the court on Thursday the union was not happy about the postponement as it meant justice would be delayed.
"Correctional services knew about the case from February... they knew what was in dispute... they knew for a long time.
"Late last night they (the department) filed some papers and this morning came here... unprepared, without a witness."
The matter was postponed to September 23.
Wolela said the department would be "more than" ready to present its "compelling case".