Cosatu, Zille set to settle cabinet row
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
BACKING OFF: Tony Ehrenreich outside court yesterday.