The labour court in Johannesburg has ordered the police to redeploy Colonel Kobus Roos to a similar position in the crime intelligence unit and to compensate him in an unfair labour practice case.
“The respondents [SA Police Service] are obliged to give preference to Roos in any application for appointment or promotion in a post reasonably acceptable to him,” Judge Robert Lagrange said in his judgment, delivered on 22 April.
“The respondents must pay Roos compensation under s194 (4) of the LRA [Labour Relations Act] in the amount of R156 250 … within 14 days of the date of this judgment.”
The police were also ordered to pay Roos’ costs of suit, including the costs of two counsel.
The court heard the case brought by trade union Solidarity in February.
Forced out after uncovering corruption
Solidarity said the SAPS conceded before the court that it had acted unfairly against Roos and that he was entitled to be placed in a position similar to the one he had previously occupied.
Solidarity said Roos was transferred to another position by former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli after Roos uncovered alleged corruption in the unit. Roos, who has been in the police for 26 years, had previously acted as head of internal audit, and the labour court ordered that he be redeployed to the unit.
According to the union, Mdluli had appointed Roos to investigate an account.
Roos uncovered “wide-ranging” alleged corruption in the unit, and had disclosed allegations and proof of corruption in a protected disclosure. Mdluli then stopped the investigation and subsequently transferred Roos to the inspectorate and evaluation division of the unit, which the union said was redundant.
Lagrange said the police had conceded the merits of Roos’ claim and agreed that an order should “take relation” to Roos’ return to useful employment.
A waste of taxpayers' money
Solidarity spokesperson Johan Kruger said they were satisfied with the judgment.
“We are pleased that Roos can now continue his work in crime intelligence after he had been transferred to a post which left him idle,” he said. “Roos was marginalised simply because he was good at his job and exposed corruption.”
He said the police “wasted taxpayers’ money” to let the matter go to court only to concede that it had unfairly treated Roos. “It is a shocking waste of taxpayers’ money.”