A position at rank level Superintendent (Lieutenant Colonel) is advertised in the Division: National Evaluation Service (now the National Inspectorate), Unit for Complaint Investigations of the South African Police Service. Renate Barnard (with 13 years' service as a Captain in the SAPS) applies and reaches the short list for interviews. She is chosen as the most suitable candidate during the interviews. The Divisional Commissioner decides to withdraw the post on grounds of race targets which have to be reached and to advertise the post again at a later stage in order to appoint a candidate which will be advantageous in reaching the set race targets in the SAPS Employment Equity Plan.
The CCMA reviews the case and Renate is supported and represented by her brother, Johan (an advocate who has been called to the bar).
The SAPD, as employer, fails to attend the meeting and the Commissioner of the CCMA issues a certificate which authorises Renate to take her
case to the Labour Court.
Renate Barnard requests the trade union Solidarity to handle her case against the SAPS on grounds of unfair discrimination. Advocate
Dirk Groenewald is assigned to the case.
Judgment is delivered in the Labour Court in Johannesburg. Judge Paul Pretorius finds that the SAPS discriminated unfairly
against Renate Barnard on grounds of her skin colour. He orders that Renate is appointed at the rank of Superintendent
(Lieutenant Colonel) and that the promotion date is backdated to 2006.
The SAPS lodges an application for leave appeal Judge Pretorius' judgment. The leave to appeal is granted.
The Labour Appeal Court rules in favour of the SAPS and amends the Labour Court's judgment. The Labour Appeal Court is of the
opinion that there has not been discriminated against Renate unfairly because no one has been appointed in the post. Solidarity
applies for leave of appeal. The leave to appeal is granted.
The case is heard in the Constitutional Court in Johannesburg. During the court proceedings, one of the acknowledged trade
unions of the SAPS, Popcru, joins the SAPS against Solidarity and Renate. Arguments are heard and judgment is reserved.
Judgment is delivered. The Constitutional Court decides unanimously that the Supreme Court of Appeal's judgment is invalid and
confirms the Labour Appeal Court's judgment. The judgment states that the National Commissioner of the SAPS has the power to appoint
people or to withdraw posts. The Court is of the opinion that there has been no unfair discrimination against Renate and that there
are no absolute obstacles in terms of Renate's career growth in the SAPS. In 2010, Renate was appointed in an irrelevant post as
Lieutenant Colonel. The Court took this appointment into consideration during judgment.
Solidarity decides to refer this case to the international community and requests that the government's current application of
affirmative action be investigated. South Africa is one of the countries who ratified CERD – Convention on the Elimination of
Racial Discrimination that deals with unfair discrimination on grounds of race and gender.
The same post is advertised. Renate Barnard applies again and is invited to an interview. Again she is chosen by the selection panel
as the most suitable candidate for the post. This time the Divisional Commissioner agrees with the panel's recommendation and writes an
additional recommendation to the National Commissioner for Renate's appointment. However, the National Commissioner rejects the
recommendation and the post is withdrawn for the second time in a row with the main reason that the appointment of a white female does
not support the efforts of the SAP to reach their employment equity targets. A recommendation to advertise the post again (for the third time)
is made in order to find a person of colour.
The same position is advertised. Renate Barnard applies for the third time. Before interviews could be conducted, the post is withdrawn.
Renate Barnard lodges an internal grievance of unfair discrimination on grounds of her skin colour. She handles the grievance herself with
the assistance of her brother, Colonel (Adv) Johan Böning. The SAPD does not want to settle and after Renate receives a mediation
certificate from an internal mediator, the case is referred to the CCMA.
The case is heard in the Labour Court in Johannesburg with Judge Paul Pretorius residing. Advocate John Grogan (SC) handles the case
on behalf of Solidarity and Renate. During the court proceedings, which last four days, the Head: Employment Equity, Colonel
Ramathoka's testimony is heard (the only state witness). The selection committee's chairman, General Major Abrie Burger testifies on
behalf of Renate in court. Renate testifies on the last day. Judgment is reserved.
The case appears in the Labour Appeal Court in Johannesburg. Arguments are heard. Solidarity is represented by Advocate Grogan (SC)
and Advocate Cassim (SC) represents the SAPS. Judgment is reserved.
The case is referred to the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein. Advocate Martin Brassey acts on behalf of Solidarity and Renate.
Judgment in the Supreme Court of Appeal is in favour of Solidarity and Renate. The five appeal judges unanimously decide that the SAPS
indeed discriminated unfairly against Renate by refusing to appoint her in the post at two occasions on grounds of their employment
equity plan. The Court also mentions the fact that the SAPS did not appoint one of the two recommended black candidates in order to
reach their targets. The SAPS is criticised for the withdrawal of senior posts and advertising them again in each case. According to
the judgment, the National Commissioner of the SAPD is constitutionally bound to manage the police effectively and economically. The
SAPS applies to refer the case to the Constitutional Court in Johannesburg. Application for leave to appeal is granted.