Cape Town - The Cape Town Labour Court
stopped the department of correctional services (DCS) on Friday from
re-advertising the post of senior state accountant.
Christo February has brought an urgent
application before Judge Robert Lagrange to stop the DCS from
appointing anyone until a ruling had been made in a separate action
against the department for unfair discrimination.
February has successfully acted in the
post of senior state accountant for a number of years, but was turned
down for promotion in terms of the DCS's employment equity plan
Earlier this week, he challenged the
decision not to promote him, contending it was because he was
His lawyer submitted that February was
the best qualified and experienced person to fill the vacant post,
and had acted in the position several times.
February was recommended for the job
because of his experience, but was turned down because his
appointment would have been in conflict with the EEP.
The case is expected to start in
The judgement handed down on Friday in
effect prevents DCS from filling the senior state accountant position
until the determination of the main litigation.
Lagrange said it seemed that February
may well have been discriminated against solely on the basis of his
race, and not for the purpose of advancing a suitably qualified
person "from a designated group, pursuant to the legitimate aims
of an employment equity plan".
He said the purpose of February's
urgent application was to prevent the department filling the post
before the determination of the main litigation.
"February contends that if the
post were filled in the meanwhile, it would mean that, even if he
were successful at trial, he could in any event not be appointed to
the post because it had already been filled," said Lagrange.
"At best, he could expect a
so-called protected promotion to another post, but could not obtain
the benefit of further experience gained by actually performing the
work of senior state accountant."
The judge said there was merit in
"In any event, if a permanent
appointment is made while the main trial is pending, it would
undoubtedly complicate the course of the trial litigation," he
"The incumbent so appointed was
likely to dispute any attempt to unseat him or her, and the dispute
was likely to go to arbitration."
This would mean that the two intimately
connected matters could be proceeding in two different forums, said