Judge dismisses City’s appeal over arbitration awarded to ex-assistant traffic chief

Judge dismisses City’s appeal over arbitration awarded to ex-assistant traffic chief


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Cape Town – A Labour Court judge has dismissed the City’s appeal for review of an arbitration awarded in favour of the late former Cape Town assistant traffic chief Paul Oliver, who had applied for promotion in 2017, but was not shortlisted – despite being qualified.

At the start of the case, Judge Hilary Rabkin-Naicker granted an application to substitute the name of Oliver, who died of Covid-19 complications in July last year, with that of his widow and executrix of his estate, Marcia Oliver.

In the contentious arbitration, challenged by the City in the labour court, South African Local Government Bargaining Council SALGBC commissioner Retief Olivier had found that the City committed an unfair labour practice, with regard to its conduct in filling the post of area traffic director.

Olivier also found that Oliver had been entitled to compensation by way of two months’ salary, which amounted to R163 847.50, based on a monthly salary of R81 923.75.

Olivier said: “I deem two months compensation justifiable in these circumstances, where the unfairness relates to both procedural and substantive unfairness.”

Olivier had also recommended that the City, as the appointing authority, investigate the appointments of successful applicants Ernest Sonnenberg and Alesia Bosman, who he said did not meet the minimum requirement for shortlisting.

He argued that Sonnenberg had only been appointed to a senior management position of sub council manager in December 2016 and, at the time of the shortlisting, he would only have been in the position for three months.

As for Bosman, Olivier said her CV indicated that she had been appointed sub council manager in November 2012, which provided her with only four years experience at a management level.

Oliver, meanwhile, had been employed as the assistant chief of traffic services by the City since 2010. Prior to this, he was employed as the deputy director of traffic and licensing, at the City of uMhlathuze, in KZN, from 2003.

Olivier said: “There were four vacancies for four different area-based directors. The posts were advertised nationally. About 160 applications were received. A shortlist of 10 was compiled and Oliver was not included.”

In their case before the Labour Court, the City argued that Olivier arrived at an unreasonable conclusion and made gross errors of law and/or exceeded his powers as an arbitrator.

However, Judge Rabkin-Naicker said: “I am not convinced by the arguments,, on behalf of the City, that Olivier evinced bias or exceeded his powers.

“His recommendation of an investigation was uncalled for. However, it was a recommendation, nothing more. The outcome of his award was within the bounds of reasonableness and correct in the circumstances. The application to review the award is dismissed,” said Judge Rabkin-Naicker.

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