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Dept apologises for ‘excluding’ unions

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The unions were not invited to participate in interviews that were held.

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THE DEPARTMENT of Social Development has apologised for a “slight oversight” after unions were not invited to participate in the interviews that were held to fill vacancies at the provincial office in Kimberley.

In an e-mail that was addressed to the unions – Nehawu, PSA, Denosa and Hospersa – on August 19, the chief director of corporate services at the Department of Social Development, Tapsy Saul, apologised for “not communicating on time on interviews that we scheduled for August and September”.

She indicated that it only came to her attention that the e-mail that was sent did not have the interview schedule attached.

“Interviews are currently under way and it’s an unfortunate situation that the unions did not have the schedule before these interviews; accept my sincere apologies as I learnt about this today and that’s the reason I am writing this e-mail to apologise with no reservations.”

Public Servants Association (PSA) provincial manager Steve Ledibane was concerned that unions were purposefully excluded from attending interviews.

“The PSA was only invited to attend the interviews that were held in Upington for a state accountant and financial management. We were not aware that interviews were being conducted in Kimberley around the same time for a senior administrative officer on August 28 and director for performance management and development system on August 27,” said Ledibane.

He added that an interview would take place today for a deputy director of financial management for the Kimberley office.

“We want to prevent candidates without the stipulated criteria or qualifications or with political connections from being appointed without following due processes.

“The unions have a legal obligation to be part of the shortlisting process. We wrote a letter of complaint to the HOD.”

The spokesperson for the Department of Social Development, Gamiem Abrahams, explained that all unions were granted observer status during shortlisting processes and interviews.

Abrahams added that the unions were welcome to sit in on interviews as per the agreement with them.

“The department remains committed to ensuring that all recruitment complies with the relevant prescripts and is done in an open and transparent manner.

“Any union representative mandated to act on behalf of their members is welcomed to engage with the HOD on this.”

– Sandi Kwon Hoo