Cadre deployment just state capture by another name

South Africa - Pretoria - 20 February 2024. ANC's National Spokesperson Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri addresses the media following the court's rulling on cadre deploymeng at the high court in Pretoria. Picture: Oupa Mokoena / Independent Newspapers

South Africa - Pretoria - 20 February 2024. ANC's National Spokesperson Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri addresses the media following the court's rulling on cadre deploymeng at the high court in Pretoria. Picture: Oupa Mokoena / Independent Newspapers

Published Feb 25, 2024


One Tintswalo does not a summer make. With apologies to one of the country’s most beautiful hotels on the Atlantic Seaboard in Cape Town. It is also important to point out that property prices in Cape Town have far outstripped every other city in the country. Semigration from the other provinces to Cape Town is a constant and steady flow.

Our labour laws are extremely strict about the recruitment and placement of future employees. In South Africa, we have a situation where an applicant for a job qualifies for an enormous amount of protection against discrimination and unfair labour practices. Even if the person has not in any way contracted with the future employer, that applicant may challenge the process if the applicant detects a hint of a discriminatory practice.

I have been involved in many cases of this nature and the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) and the Labour Court come to the aid of individuals who can point out discriminatory reasons for them not being appointed into the future position of employment.

We do have one exception to this: an individual can be positively discriminated against if the employer is trying to fill its affirmative action positions. In other words, if two individuals apply and they are equally qualified, the future employer can target the historically disadvantaged individual to take up the position to enhance their employment equity targets.

Other than this type of example, any other discriminatory practice would be condemned and the adjudication processes could lead to their appointment being disqualified and for the other applicant to be placed in the position. We have seen numerous examples of this. It is unfortunately a common practice in South Africa for discrimination to take place. We saw this routinely practised under apartheid where black, Indian and coloured individuals were overlooked nine times out of 10.

One would have thought that with the advent of democracy, discriminatory practice would have become part of our odious apartheid history. However, this was not to be. The governing ANC took a decision almost 30 years ago to exercise hegemonic control.

The ANC set out to try to control all the levers of power in South Africa. Individuals were specifically placed in jobs in the public and the private sector. The individuals were either members of the ANC or were strong supporters of the ANC. The whole idea was to capture the state in every which way they could.

To achieve industrial discrimination, the ANC set up a Cadre Deployment Committee and, in a structured way, discriminated against every other person who might not have been influential enough within the ANC. It has become apparent that the deployment committee was invasive and its tentacles stretched into every facet of South Africa.

It is no wonder that the individuals who were appointed without merit were unable to do the job. The poisonous practice has hollowed out the civil service and bastardised large chunks of the business community. Even more disgusting is that Cyril Ramaphosa, as the then-deputy president, chaired the nasty duplicitous committee. They even had the gall to keep minutes and follow up with the decision.

The whole nefarious practice has been condemned by the Zondo Commission and has been exposed, warts and all. In other words, this fictitious character “Tintswalo” was the recipient of ANC largess at the expense of those South Africans who were qualified to do the job.

The ANC is trying to justify the cancerous rot as fair in all the circumstances. The governing party has gone out of its way to defend the hegemonic control throughout the court system. We can be very, very thankful for the independence of our South African judiciary. Now that the courts have condemned cadre deployment, otherwise known as State Capture, the true work will begin. Individuals who can show that they were not given positions because of the cadre deployment can go to the CCMA and the Labour Court to challenge their non-appointment.

It is also up to a new government to ensure that the practice is properly rooted out and that employees who are “fit for purpose” are appointed. This can be achieved, but it will take a few years if the citizens come out at the elections and ensure that the ANC and its hegemonic nasty control are removed. The removal will result in more jobs and will save South Africa.

* Michael Bagraim is a labour lawyer and DA MP.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

Cape Argus

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