Higher Education and Training Minister, Dr Blade Nzimande, has welcomed the General Public Service Sectoral Bargaining Council (GPSSBC) decision to dismiss the application by the department’s former Director-General, Gwebinkundla Qonde.
Qonde claimed that he was unfairly treated. This follows a similar claim, which was dismissed by the Labour Court earlier this year.
The former Director-General wanted the GPSSBC to determine whether he was subjected to an unfair labour practice relating to demotion. The application was heard by GPSSBC Commissioner, PM Ngako on 02 December 2022.
Ngako concluded that the GPSSBC cannot adjudicate over the applicant’s dispute because it was found that the applicant failed to comply with the grievance procedure set out in Chapter 10 of the Senior Management Service (SMS) Handbook clause 1.2 and 6(a) when he failed to use the Grievance Form at Annexure A to lodge his grievance.
As result, the Commissioner said Council does not have jurisdiction to adjudicate over Qonde’s dispute.
“As a result the applicant failed to comply with the grievance procedure set out in Chapter 10 of the SMS Handbook, conditions that are peremptory. He failed to refer his grievance in a prescribed form. In terms of the SMS Handbook, the applicant failed to lodge a grievance before referring a dispute to the Council.
“The two letters of complaint that he wrote to the President was not in compliance of the grievance procedure as set out in the SMS Handbook and the Public Service Act. As result I find the applicant has failed to exhaust internal grievance proceedings before referring his unfair labour practice dispute to Council and as result Council does not have jurisdiction to adjudicate over the applicant’s dispute,” said the Commissioner.
Nzimande said he feels vindicated by the outcome of the General Public Service Sectoral Bargaining Council’s decision.
“This decision reafirms that the Public Service Act and the SMS Handbook, are the basic legal prescripts governing senior public servants’ employment in the public service,” Nzimande said.
The Minister added that it is disheartening that Qonde, having been a Director-General of the Department of Higher Education, failed to comprehend these basic prescripts.
“It is clear that Qonde was looking for something to tarnish the Minister’s reputation for political reasons. All those gullible media houses and other detractors who climbed on the bandwagon to try and discredit the Minister will take note of these outcomes and developments,” Nzimande said.
Source: South African Government News Agency