Cosatu, Zille set to set­tle cab­i­net row

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS -

COSATU yes­ter­day backed off from its Equal­ity Court de­mand that West­ern Cape Premier He­len Zille re­con­sti­tute her male-dom­i­nated cab­i­net.

In­stead, the union fed­er­a­tion’s West­ern Cape pro­vin­cial sec­re­tary, Tony Ehren­re­ich, and Zille’s le­gal team were sched­uled to sit down for talks on an out-of-court set­tle­ment.

In a brief hear­ing yes­ter­day, Judge Willem Louw sug­gested the set­tle­ment might take the form of a joint state­ment by the two par­ties.

Ehren­re­ich laid a com­plaint with the court af­ter Zille ap­pointed 10 men and no women other than her­self to her cab­i­net in May.

Yes­ter­day’s “di­rec­tions” hear­ing was meant to be a pro­ce­dural dis­cus­sion on how the case would be con­ducted. How­ever, Ehren­re­ich told the judge it had emerged from Zille’s re­ply­ing pa­pers that she was as com­mit­ted to ad­vanc­ing gen­der is­sues as was Cosatu, a point he said she had not made when she de­fended her cab­i­net ap­point­ments ear­lier.

He asked Judge Louw for ad­vice on whether the Equal­ity Court was the cor­rect fo­rum for the com­plaint. Cosatu has also com­plained to the gen­der and hu­man rights com­mis­sions.

Zille’s ad­vo­cate, Re­nate Wil­liams, said that if there was a pos­si­bil­ity that the mat­ter could be set­tled, it should be ex­plored by the par­ties.

Judge Louw pro­vi­sion­ally post­poned the mat­ter to Septem­ber 4, and re­peated what he said ear­lier about a joint state­ment. “I’m sure that there is a pos­si­bil­ity to come up with some­thing,” he said.

The judge said ear­lier that if the hear­ing did go ahead, one of the is­sues that the par­ties might want to deal with was Zille’s claim that the se­lec­tion of a cab­i­net was the ex­er­cise of a pre­rog­a­tive power and could not be chal­lenged. – Sapa

PIC­TURE: JEF­FREY ABRA­HAMS

BACK­ING OFF: Tony Ehren­re­ich out­side court yes­ter­day.

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