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Cape prosecutor’s urgent application to interdict recruitment process struck off Labour Court roll

PROSECUTOR Derrick Grootboom. Picture: Supplied

PROSECUTOR Derrick Grootboom. Picture: Supplied

Published Nov 1, 2021

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Cape Town - The Labour Court in Cape Town has struck off the roll the urgent application asking the court to interdict the recruitment process for the post of Malmesbury head control prosecutor.

The application was brought by prosecutor Derrick Grootboom, a former Robben Island political prisoner.

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Speaking afterwards, Grootboom said: “I was unsuccessful in my application for lack of urgency, and the matter has now been referred to the Bargaining Council.”

In his lawsuit, Grootboom had also wanted the chairperson of the panel, his boss, chief prosecutor of the Bellville cluster Heather Cross, to be prevented from interviewing candidates for the position.

Grootboom applied for the post of head court control prosecutor of the Bellville cluster. In his application to the Labour Court, launched on October 22, Grootboom alleged that Cross is biased against him. He said they had previously crossed swords, when she demoted him in 2014.

The selection committee, which consisted of four people, including Cross, met on August 5 this year, to agree on a set of criteria for short-listing candidates, and proceeded to consider and to score all 139 applications.

The committee found that Grootboom’s application had failed to meet the minimum threshold to be shortlisted and, consequently, he was not included in the short-list of 14 candidates after scores were allocated.

When, on October 19, Grootboom requested reasons for the decision not to shortlist him, despite his experience – having worked as a prosecutor with the NPA for the last 20 years – she told him that the panel had identified a number of competencies for the post and that he did not meet them.

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Legal representative for the NPA and Cross advocate Suzanna Harvey told the court that Grootboom had not set out the basis upon which he contends that the matter is urgent, as required by Rule 8(2) of the Labour Court Rules.

“Nor did he propose, in his notice of application, reasonable time limits, commensurate with the urgency claimed, within which the respondents should give notice of intention to oppose or to file answering affidavits as required – clauses 12.9-12.10 of the Practice Manual in his notice of application,” said Harvey.

NPA spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said: “The NPA is further of the view that Grootboom’s urgent application is devoid of any substantive merit and lacked legal conformity to be considered urgent.

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“The NPA remains committed to fair recruitment practices in line with its Recruitment Policy,” said Ntabazalila.

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Cape Argus

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