An aggrieved senior lecturer who was unsuccessful in her quest to be the Head of the Department (HOD), approached the Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC) to challenge her colleague’s appointment in an attempt to have her removed from the position.
Nolundi Mbuli is a senior lecturer at Ikhala TVET College in Komani, Eastern Cape.
In October 2020, she applied for the HOD position and went for an interview where she was later recommended for the position alongside Nomonde Mboyi-Dubeni.
The recommendation was then referred to the principal for a final decision.
The principal appointed Mboyi-Dubeni as the HOD in February 2021.
This did not sit well with Mbuli, who felt that the process that led to the appointment of Mboyi-Dubeni was unfair and constituted an unfair labour practice.
During the hearing, she testified that she met the minimum requirements of the job and she believed that she was the best candidate for the job.
Furthermore, she was unhappy about the outcome of the recruitment processes because she was in possession of a teaching qualification that Mboyi-Dubeni does not have.
She said Mboyi-Dubeni has a Post Graduate Diploma in Educational Management, a one-year post graduate qualification, and also has a South African Council for Educators certificate.
Mqondisi Bikitsha, an acting principal at the institution, said he was part of the short-listing process and was also the chairperson of the interview panel.
He disputed claims that Mboyi-Dubeni does not meet the minimum requirements for the job. He said the candidate held a NQF level 8 in education, which was one of the requirements for the position.
He also explained that the appointment of the HOD is delegated to the principal and that other parties have no influence in the final decision. This was also confirmed by another witness, Sithembele Damana, who works as a Human Resources Manager at the college.
After listening to all the evidence, Commissioner Malusi Mbuli said he had no reason to reject the evidence provided by the witnesses.
He added that Mbuli had a duty to prove that the college acted unfairly and its conduct constituted an unfair labour practice, but she failed to do so.
“The applicant has not managed to demonstrate that one or some of the factors for consideration in the decision above exist for her to challenge the application of the employer’s discretion,” he said.
Commissioner Mbuli said the appointment of Mboyi-Dubeni, and the non-appointment of Mbuli, was fair and did not constitute an unfair labour practice.