Ap­peal judge rules against Coega man­ager

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - NEWS - Dave Cham­bers

A R1.4-MIL­LION-A-YEAR man­ager at a state-owned enterprise was fired af­ter dis­hon­estly help­ing to land jobs for her lover’s cousin and brother.

Jackie Fort, who worked at Coega De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion in Port El­iz­a­beth, took her un­fair dis­missal case to the Labour Ap­peal Court in Johannesburg.

But it ruled against her, say­ing she had ma­nip­u­lated the Coega re­cruit­ment sys­tem and was not a cred­i­ble wit­ness.

The court heard that Fort’s story changed sev­eral times dur­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into her mis­con­duct, her dis­ci­plinary hear­ing, a hear­ing at the Com­mis­sion for Con­cil­i­a­tion, Me­di­a­tion and Ar­bi­tra­tions and an ap­peal at the Labour Court.

Coega claimed she had been Ad­naan Ebrahim’s lover when she helped land jobs for his cousin, Christa Coet­zer, and his brother, Talha Ebrahim, nei­ther of whom had the qual­i­fi­ca­tions re­quired for the va­can­cies they filled.

She per­son­ally pro­vided the hu­man re­sources depart­ment with their CVs and sat on both in­ter­view­ing pan­els.

When Coet­zer scored less than the top can­di­date in in­ter­views for a doc­u­ment con­trol of­fi­cer va­cancy, Fort ir­reg­u­larly ar­ranged for the po­si­tion to be split in two so both could be ap­pointed.

Act­ing Judge of Ap­peal Math- ebe Phat­shoane said in her judg­ment, handed down on Au­gust 17, that Fort “cun­ningly out­smarted her un­sus­pect­ing fel­low pan­el­lists by bring­ing forth the idea of cre­at­ing a du­pli­cate . . . po­si­tion”.

She ma­nip­u­lated the in­ter­view process “in a de­lib­er­ate and de­vi­ous man­ner to hide her machi­na­tions and to make the out­come . . . seem as nor­mal as pos­si­ble”.

Fort had worked at Coega for nine years and was a safety, health and qual­ity unit head.

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