Academic gets even with Cape varsity tech after being turned down for promotion

When an associate professor lodged a grievance against the dean of an education faculty she did not realise that it would later scupper her chances of being promoted.

But after her applications for promotion to the post of assistant dean of the education faculty at Cape Peninsula University of Technology’s (CPUT) Mowbray and Wellington campuses were unsuccessful, she didn’t get mad — she got even.

The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) recently ordered the CPUT to pay Lungi Sosibo more than R284 000 in compensation after finding that there was “unfair conduct” in its selection process.

She said her case was about those who had won a crucial battle against power, ego and those who abuse the good name of CPUT by playing “God” when making decisions affecting the careers of employees.

“The ruling by the CCMA restored my self-worth, reputation, integrity and human dignity. I feel vindicated because it confirmed my belief that the recruitment and selection process which I participated in was unfair.”

Sosibo and three others had applied for the two posts but she did not challenge the successful appointment of the candidate at the Wellington campus because she felt it was fair.

The best performing candidate for the Mowbray post, Chris Hattingh, a white male, was found to be “not appointable” because of employment equity considerations.

Sosibo’s main gripe was against the appointment of Christa Thornhill, whom she claimed did not possess the minimum requirements for the post.

Her other objections to the selection process included scoring irregularities, the alleged bias of the dean of the education faculty, Professor Thobeka Mda, and the participation of Nomzuzo Zikalala, whom she described as Mda’s best friend and “the dean’s pet” on the selection panel.

Her contention was that Zikalala should not have been part of the selection panel because she was Thornhill’s referee and this was a conflict of interest.

Of all the members on the selection panel, Mda had given her the lowest score.



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