Fri, May 27, 2022

Access to information is essential in South Africa’s Constitutional democracy.  Thanks to members of the public providing information, here’s The Competition Commission’s draft HR policy. The problem the policy indicates is that CCSA has been using an incomplete, if any, operational management system for 17 years! This explains why their conduct fails to conform to S23.1 of the Constitution and disregards the Competition Act.

The CCSA HR department refused to respond to questions regarding their lack of compliance.

What’s concrete at the Competition Commission?

Poor policy at CompComSA reflects an institution operating in contradiction of legislation and recognised policy norms. They hold themselves unaccountable and refuse to clarify how their conduct strengthens economy and society, as per the Competition Act requirements.

Everyone entitled to fair labour practice

S23.1 of the constitution enshrines the rights to fairness in the labour context. ‘Fairness’ refers to impartial conduct i.e.  one party’s interest is not favoured above the other, an employer is not unfairly disadvantaged, neither is the worker. 

No Pay In Ad – is this constitutionally fair?

CCSA does not link their policy framework explicitly to legislation, this is their greatest downfall and policy weakness. They create no legitimate context, simply offering a policy position likely based on institutional whim and bias. This weakness indicates an HR department unfamiliar with policy norms and standards, thus unqualified to understand the implications of poor policy.

The draft policy indicates CCSA’s continued failure to link transparent advertising and ethics to recruitment.

Ask CCSA economists why they require asymmetric advantages during recruitment and how this conforms to constitutional ‘fairness.’

Information Asymmetry

When one party to a negotiation has more information than the other, economists and lawyers term this an unfair information advantage – information asymmetry.

CCSA advertised positions without being upfront about pay and demanded competitive confidential rival firm wage information from applicants. In doing so, they sabotage the rights of both applicants and rival employers.

CCSA has abused their position to spy on organisations they compete against for talent.

If CCSA wants pay information so badly, why don’t they contact firms themselves and ask as opposed to forcing it from applicants? By spying and obtaining information unfairly, CCSA can poach employees by making deviously calculated counter offers.

CCSA uses devious underhand recruitment tactics marginalising public rights and destroys a fair competition for talent between firms.

Once obtained, CCSA can use current cost to company information against applicants to price-fix pay and argue against their right to negotiate for better pay. This constitutes a breach of trust, meaning CCSA leaves a door open to being sued by an applicant who believes they were compelled to submit information later used against them.

CCSA has no right obtaining rival firm wages from applicants for labour market research purposes.

CCSA creates a perception of recruitment without legal boundaries, that unconstitutional values can dominate society and immorally divide industry.

Unhappy CCSA employees are most welcome to do what others do – send me their story! 🙂

Note: This policy will shortly be available in word format.


      1        Definitions

Word Definition
LRA means the Labour Relations Act, 66 of 1995 (as amended);
BCEA means the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, 75 of 1997 (as amended);
EEA means the Employment Equity Act, 55 of 1998 (as amended);
COMMISSIONER means the Commissioner of the Competition Commission as appointed from time to time;
COMPETITION COMMISSION means the Competition Commission of South Africa;
EMPLOYEE means an employee employed by the Commission as per the definition of employee in the BCEA; LRA and EEA;
EXCO means the Executive Committee of the Commission as appointed from time to time;
FIXED TERM EMPLOYEE means an employee who is appointed on a fixed term contract, either for a limited duration of time or for a specific project or job;
DIVISIONAL MANAGER means an employee of the Commission who is so designated and is directly responsible for the management of a division, office or service of the Commission, or such Manager’s lawfully appointed nominee acting in that capacity;
PERMANENT EMPLOYEE means employees appointed on a permanent basis;
TEMPORARY EMPLOYEE means an employee who is appointed on a temporary basis or casual basis depending on the operational requirements of the Commission;

      2        Policy Statement

The realisation of Vision 2030 at the Competition Commission of South Africa (CCSA) (the “Commission”) is premised, amongst other things, on putting employees and people management at the centre of the realisation of the goals of the institution and the creation of a high-performance culture in the institution.

The Competition Commission (“Commission”) has defined the imperative of becoming a High Performance Agency as one of its Strategic Goals. The Commission has identified the attraction and retention of Talent as key to the realisation of the High Performance Agency and fulfilment of its mandate. The Commission recognises the need to contribute to the redressing of the imbalances of the past by creating opportunities for the previously disadvantaged and implementation of the Employment Equity Plan to achieve a staff profile that is representative of the demographics of South Africa.

      3        Philosophy

  • The Commission is a High Performance Agency that needs to be supported by talented employees who have a culture of high performance, track record and competency to perform at sustained high levels performance as defined by the following framework:
Defining Area Indicators Description
Character Alignment with Government Policy Government Policy Understanding Understanding of Government policy and relevant legislative framework
Share the Values of the Commission Communication Written and oral communication ability and ability to transmit information to those who need to know whilst protecting it from those who do not need to have it
Ownership Self-starter who can work independently and take ownership of work
Openness to new ideas Enquiring and analytic mind that is open to new ideas
Making a Difference Commitment to make a difference in markets and the South African economy in line with the Act
Professionalism Professionalism in approach and demeanour
Teamwork Team Player
A Person of Integrity

(to be tested during reference checks and with assessment instruments)

Authenticity Predisposition to authenticity
A Person of Integrity

(to be tested during reference checks and with assessment instruments)

Capable of doing the job

Reputation Opinions of others about the candidate or employee
Credibility People’s Trust
Skills Abilities
Competency Capable of doing the job

High Learning Ability

Knowledge Relevant knowledge
Experience Relevant experience
Qualifications Relevant Qualifications and level
Learning Ability Learning Agility
Results Orientation Achievements Relevant professional accomplishments
Results Orientation

Job Specific Competencies

Performance Performance over the last three years
Defined Job Specific Competencies
  • The application of this framework on Talent Acquisition processes is expected to yield game changers as illustrated below:
Hire Zone
Character High Fit 6. Potential Team Players with no prior exposure – Entry Level  3. Future Game Changers – Need Development of Competencies 1. Game Changers  Hire Zone
Fit Not our Talent 4. Team Players – Need Development of Competencies and Character 2. Future Game Changers – Need Development of Character
Low Fit Not our Talent Not our Talent 5. Specialist Players – Need Character Development
Low Competency Competent Highly Competent

The Commission will seek to appoint the following key groups of employees:

  • Game Changers: highly competent employees with a character that is a high fit to the Commission.
  • Future Game Changers: these will be employees who either highly competent, have characters that to the Commission’s profile or have characters that are a high fit whilst being competent. These employees will possess potential to become Game Changers with development.
  • Team Players: These employees are competent and have characters that are a fit with the job’s required character.
  • Potential Team Players: Potential team players are employees whose character is a high fit but have low competency due to lack of exposure to the world of work. The Commission will only hire employees with these profiles at lower levels of the organization in positions that are aimed training and development.
  • Specialist Players: These are highly competent employees with a low fit in terms of character dimension of assessment. The Commission will only hire these employees in very specialized positions.

      4        Aims of the Policy

      4.1      Purpose of the Policy

The purpose of this policy is to:

  • Create a framework for the acquisition of talented employees to support the realization of the Strategic Goals of the Commission.
  • Harmonize practices and conduct in the management of talent acquisition processes.
  • Regulate the Talent Acquisition Process for fairness and objectivity.
  • To define the processes that must be followed for acquisition of talent at the Commission.
  • Outline the tools that will be used at different levels of the process.
  • To define the outputs of the talent acquisition process.

      4.2      Principles

  • Talent Acquisition processes at the Commission must be in line with relevant legislation, policies of the Commission and acceptable norms and standards,
  • Information about opportunities and vacancies must be made available to prospective candidates with potential candidates given reasonable time to apply for opportunities.
  • All processes must be fair and objective with reasonable steps to prevent individual bias;
  • All rules and practices must be applied consistently,
  • All processes must be in line with the Commission’s Employment Equity policy and be free from unfair discrimination on the basis of gender, age, race, culture, marital status, disability or sexual orientation,
  • All criteria and techniques must be reliable, valid and relevant to the job concerned and must as far as possible reduce the potential for individual bias or discrimination.

      5        Talent Acquisition Process at the Commission

  • The Talent Acquisition Process at the Commission has the following elements:

      6        Talent Acquisition Procedure

      6.1      Job Management

  • All jobs at the Commission are in line with the Organisational Structure as approved by the Executive Committee of the Commission.
  • All Jobs will have job descriptions and will have been evaluated and graded by an independent professional with suitable qualifications.
  • Changes to Job descriptions and Grades will be done by a designated official at the Human Capital Section with suitable certification, the official will make a recommendation to a Job Evaluation Committee that will be a sub-committee of the Human Resources Committee.
  • Any changes to Job Descriptions will be signed off by the Commissioner on the Recommendation of the Human Resources Committee.
  • If an employee raises a dispute on the Job Description and Grading of a position, an independent professional must be appointed to review the work of the Job Evaluation Committee with recommendations on action to be taken and submitted to the Commissioner whose decision on the matter will be final.
  • The Executive Committee will consider and approve a funded Staff Establishment for implementation in a particular financial year.
  • Jobs that are not in the Staff Establishment may be implemented in a particular financial year subject to the approval of the Commissioner on request of the hiring manager, recommendation of the Human Capital Manager and concurrence of the Chief Financial Officer.
  • The Commission has a standard Salary Structure that outlines the minimum, median and maximum salary applicable to each Grade at the Commission with the Salary Structure governed by the Remuneration Policy of the Commission.
  • Talent Acquisition Processes will be in line with the Remuneration Policy of the Commission.

      6.2      Requisition of Acquisition

  • The Commission shall use an electronic job requisition process and may use a manual process underpinned by standard forms when the system is not working or when the system is not functional.
  • The Hiring Manager will make the requisition confirming the need for the position to be filled, availability of budget and confirming the position is in the staff establishment or approval has been received from the Commissioner for the position to be filled during that financial year.
  • Vacancies will be will be filled in line with the approved Job Specifications and salaries scales.
  • The Human Capital Section must report on progress on the acquisition processes of positions monthly in line with agreed Service Level Agreements.

      6.3      Advertisement and Sourcing of Talent for Positions

      6.3.1      Advertisement of Positions

  • The Commission will advertise its positions internally and externally using electronic platforms; print platforms may be used to direct potential candidates to opportunities
  • The following minimum requirements shall be included in notices:
    1. Job specification and requirements,
    2. Relevant selection criteria,
  • Closing date for applications.
  1. Adverts must be accurate, complete, clear and attractive
  • Positions will be advertised for a minimum of seven (7) days and a maximum of twenty one (21) days.
  • Information about applicants and their applications shall be treated as confidential information by the Human Capital Section of the Commission.

      6.3.2      Response Handling

  • Responses to applications are handled through an electronic response handling system that will filter applicants using the following key elements:
  1. Education qualifications
  2. Relevant experience
  • Job specific requirements (both essential requirements and those that will give added advantage to the applicant)
  1. Required Knowledge
  2. Required Skills
  3. Required Abilities
  • The system filter will be used to rank applications by relevance based on the criteria above and may include other factors or some of the factors in paragraph (a).
  • The candidates who meet the requirements as per the filter will be submitted to a Selection Committee for Shortlisting.
  • Where there is more than 20 suitably qualified candidates at this stage, the Human Capital section may use tools outlined in the pre-interview stage to narrow down the numbers.

      6.3.3      Sourcing Channels

The Commission shall adopt a sourcing process that will provide recognition the concept of Internal Talent Pool, ensure opportunity is given to internal employees to ensure progression and tap on external candidates to introduce new skills and thinking in the organization. The use of the channels will generally be sequential but where this is not practical, the Human Capital Section may skip other channels. Our Sourcing Channels are as follows:          Internal Talent Pool

  • The Commission’s Talent Management Framework makes a provision for the development of Talent Pools at the Commission with these Talent Pools approved by a Talent Committee (with the Executive Committee (EXCO) expected to constitute itself as a Talent Committee at least once a year).
  • Where the Commission has employees designated as succession ready by the Talent Committee for a particular position, the Human Capital Section will source candidates from the Talent Pool.
  • In the event of not finding a suitable candidate/candidates from the Talent Pool or the candidate/candidates from the Talent Pool proving unsuitable at any stage of the Selection Process, the Human Capital Section will embark on an alternative sourcing method.
  • A candidate or candidates from this process will proceed to the Interview Step within the Selection Stage.          Internal Sourcing

  • The Human Capital Section may run an Internal Sourcing process unless there are less than three (3) suitable candidates from internal applicants.
  • Internal sourcing will be limited internal applicants.
  • In the event of not finding suitable candidates from this process or in the event of candidates proving unsuitable at any stage of the Selection Process, the Human Capital Section will embark on an alternative sourcing method.
  • If the Internal Sourcing Process yields less than three (3) candidates, the Human Capital Section will have to expand the pool by looking at external applicants.
  • Candidates from this process will proceed to the Shortlisting Step of the Selection Stage.
  • If the candidates from the internal process do not achieve the minimum overall thresholds of 70%* at Selection Stage, then the Human Capital Section will proceed with the external sourcing channel.          External Sourcing

  • External sourcing will include:
    1. Applicants from outside the Commission who applied for an advertised position,
    2. Candidates sourced from an internal database (this may include referrals from employees, for more information on the referral program please see annexure) who are not at the Commission and candidates introduced by recruitment agencies in return for an introduction fee.
  • Candidates from this process will proceed to the Shortlisting Step of the Selection Stage.          Headhunting (To be reviewed as part of the process after you exhausted other avenues – stepped approach – 1, 2, 3, etc.)

  • The Commission may use head-hunting on the recommendation of the Human Capital Manager and approval of the Commissioner when:
    1. It proves difficult to recruit suitable qualified candidates and/or to source a specific profile of candidates based on the Employment Equity Plan of the Commission.
    2. The need for the required candidates is urgent based on operational requirements.

      6.4      Selection

6.4.1      Constitute a Selection Panel

  • The Human Capital Section in consultation with the Hiring Manager must set-up a Selection Panel that will be Composed of:
    1. A representative from the Human Capital section responsible for process management and assisting in the structuring of content. This is a non-scoring member of the panel.
    2. The Hiring Manager or his or her nominee, responsible for content side of the selection process,
  • Two (2) people who are on a grade higher than the advertised position, preferably there must be at least one person from another Division.
  • The Selection Panel will oversee all aspects of the selection process related to that position from shortlisting to the first interview step.

      6.4.2      Shortlisting

  • The Selection Panel shall administer a Short Listing Instrument will assess applicants against criteria that may have the following elements:
    1. Education qualifications: confirmation of copies of qualifications
    2. Relevant experience: confirmation of relevance of experience
  • Job specific requirements (both essential requirements and those that will give added advantage to the applicant): confirmation that the candidate meets the job specific requirements from applicant’s submission.
  • The Selection Panel must decide on no more than eight (8) candidates to go through to pre-screening process.

      6.4.3      Pre-Interview Screening of Candidates

  • The Human Capital Section must administer the screening of the candidates received from the Shortlisting Step to assist the Selection Panel to produce a list of no more than five (5) candidates to be interviewed.
  • A Pre-Interview Tool that may include the following tools must be applied to all the candidates consistently and fairly:
    1. Telephonic interviews,
    2. Video interviews,
  • Case studies,
  1. Written or oral tests and/or
  2. Role playing exercises
  • The Pre-interview Tool chosen must enable the Human Capital Section to assess the following:
    1. Assess the relevance of their experience
    2. Basic Assessment the extent to which they meet Job specific requirements (both essential requirements and those that will give added advantage to the applicant)
  • Basic Assessment the extent of having required Knowledge
  1. Basic Assessment their Skills levels in relation to the job
  2. Basic Assessment of Required Abilities

      6.4.4      Interview

  • The Selection Panel will conduct interviews.
  • In interviews for positions in Grades 6 to Grade 18, the panel must assess the candidates recommended for an interview and establish if they are suitable for appointment in the role and then designate one (1) candidate as a preferred candidate for appointment with a second candidate, should the preferred candidate not take up the offer.
  • In interviews for positions in Grades 3 to Grade 5, the panel must assess the candidates and recommend no more than two (2) appointable candidates per position for the second round of interviews.
  • The Panel shall administer an Interview that will assess the character fit and competence of candidates in line with Assessment Matrix in Appendix A of the Policy.
  • Psychometric assessments will be required for positions in Grade 3 and 4 whilst in positions in Grade 5 to Grade 18 they will be at the discretion of the Selection Panel if the panel deems necessary to arrive at a recommendation.
  • The hiring manager may appoint external members to be part of a Selection Panel in the appointment of Grade 3 and Grade 4 positions. (Exception on Grade 4 but Grade 3, you can invite an external)
  • The hiring manager may appoint external members to be part of a Selection Panel in the appointment of specialised position on the approval of the Commissioner.

      6.4.5      Second Round of Interviews

  • The Human Capital Section in consultation with the Commissioner must set-up an Interview Panel composed of:
    1. The Commissioner or his nominee as the appointing authority, (delete)
    2. A representative from the Human Capital section,
    3. Hiring Manager or his/her nominee,
  • The Panel shall administer an Interview Instrument that will assess applicants against criteria that may have the following elements:
    1. Fit for management
    2. Ability of the candidate to operate at a strategic level as defined in the performance scorecard.
  • The Commissioner will make a final decision on the appointment at this stage.

      6.4.6      Pre-Employment Screening

  • All candidates recommended for employment at the Commission must undergo pre-employment screening before a letter of appointment may be extended to them with this screening processes conducted by the Security and Facilities with the assistance of an independent service provider.
  • Pre-Employment Screening: All candidates that have been recommended for employment will be screened for the following:
    1. Criminal record,
    2. Reference checks,
    3. Financial conduct,
    4. Verification of qualifications,
    5. Security risk profile
    6. Public image
  • Once the Security unit of the Commission has received a report on the recommended candidate, they will issue an internal Security Screening Certificate that will be valid for a year and will be renewed annually. The report will be submitted to the Commissioner for decision and appointment. The appointed candidate will still be expected to undergo vetting by the State Security Agency (SOSA).
  • The Security Screening Certificate will indicate the level of clearance for the employee and any endorsement/or conditions that the employee needs to comply with.

      6.5      Appointments

  • The Commission will have the following appointments: Temporal Contracts, Fixed Term Contracts and Permanent contracts.
  • All new employees or promoted employees will be appointed subject to a probation period of three months that can be extended to six months.

      6.6      Onboarding

  • The Talent Acquisition team will hand over the process to the Human Capital Development team who will be responsible for the onboarding process.
  • The Talent Management Team must ensure that all logistical arrangements relating to the new employee are in place. These include: the date, time, when and the place where the employee is to begin work and ensuring that the allocation of an office, furniture and stationery is provided for.

      7        Exceptional Appointments

  • The Commission may make exceptional appointment that is appointments that may be out of the norm, subject to the following provisions.
    1. Remuneration: If there is a need to recruit a competent employee with rare, critical or exceptional expertise and skills and such an employee cannot be recruited at the salary level indicated by the job weight, the Commissioner may authorise the granting of a salary above the minimum notch of the salary level as indicated by the job weight. This will depend on the circumstances of the candidate and the availability of funds.
    2. Educational Qualifications: If there is a need to recruit a competent employee with rare, critical or exceptional expertise and skills and such an employee cannot be recruited at the same educational qualifications indicated by the job weight, the Commissioner may authorise the appointment.
  • Other deviations from the policy will have to be done through a deviation process outlined in this policy.

      8        Deviation from process

  • Where compliance with the provisions of this policy becomes impractical, approval of a deviation can be sought from the Commissioner on the recommendation of the Human Capital Manager and the concurrence of the Chief Financial Officer (CFO).
  • The provisions that cannot be followed, reasons and implications of the deviation must be clearly spelt out in the Memo to the Commissioner.

      9        Probation

  • The employment of new employees is subject to a three (3) month probation period. This must be reflected in the job offer.
  • Serving employees who have been promoted or transferred must serve the three (3) month probation as well.
  • During the probationary period, the Divisional Manager must monitor the new employee’s ability to perform a particular job at a particular level. Supervisors are responsible for the day-to-day supervision of employees on probation through training, offering guidance and advice and monitoring progress. The probationary system is linked to the performance management system.
  • Probationary reports must be completed and submitted to Human Capital Section for implementation.
  • The probation period may be extended with the number of leave days taken during the probation period or extension thereof.
  • In the event of unsatisfactory work performance, the Divisional Manager or supervisor must immediately implement the relevant incapacity processes. If the performance does not improve, the matter should be referred to the Human Capital section for incapacity processes. Possible actions are the extension of the probation period or termination thereof. Termination of probation can happen during the probation period as long as the formal dismissal procedures were followed. When dismissal is considered, the employee must be afforded the opportunity to state his or her case during a Disciplinary hearing.

10      Confidentiality

  •        The handling of documents and information related to Talent Acquisition is considered confidential with all the provisions, protocols and rules of the Commission on dealing with confidential information applicable.
  • In the case of the information being used for Talent Management processes, the information shall be disclosed to others on confidential basis.

      11   Conclusion

  • Commission staff may seek further guidance and advice regarding Talent Acquisition from: their immediate manager, or their Divisional Manager, or the Human Capital Section of the Corporate Services Division;
  • Attached to this policy is an Assessment Matrix and Turnaround times for the Acquisition process.

      12   Assessment Matrix

13   Appendix 2: Roles and Responsibilities

      13.1  Roles and Responsibilities of the Commissioner

The Commissioner is expected to:

  • Approve all proposals for deviation from normal Talent Acquisition processes.
  • To appoint all employees at the Commission.
  • To oversee the appointment of all employees from Grade 3 to 5.
  • The Commissioner is the appointing authority at the Commissioner with his/her decision final on appointment decisions.

      13.2  Roles and Responsibilities of the Human Capital Manager

The Human Capital Manager is expected to:

  • A custodian of this policy who will monitor its implementation,
  • Report to the Executive Committee on progress and challenges in the implementation of the policy at least once a quarter

      13.3  Roles and Responsibilities of the Hiring Manager

The Hiring Manager is expected to:

  • Initiate the requisition process for filling of vacant, funded positions.
  • Initiate processes for approval of positions that are not funded.
  • Adhere to deliverables spelt out in a Talent Acquisition Project Plan.
  • Participate in the setting up of a Selection Panel and be part of the Selection Panel or nominate a person to be part of the Selection Panel on his or her behalf.
  • The nominee of the Hiring Manager on a Selection Panel will have full authority to act on behalf of the Hiring Manager.
  • Give feedback to unsuccessful internal candidates before the announcement of the appointed candidate.

      13.4  Roles and Responsibilities of the Selection Panel

The Selection Panel is expected to:

  • Review the outcomes of the system filter to establish fairness, completeness and to identify whether there are no good candidates who were excluded from the pool.
  • Assess candidates using a pre-agreed instrument on character fit and competence in line with the Assessment matrix in Annexure 1.
  • Select candidates to be interviewed for a position.
  • Approve and use an assessment instrument to be administered on all candidates.
  • Plot candidates on the nine (9) box matrix and make recommendations for appointment to the Commissioner.
  • Recommend further assessments through psychometric assessments where warranted.

      13.5  Roles and Responsibilities of Interview Panel Two

The Interview Panel One is expected to:

  • Approve and use an assessment instrument to be administered on all candidates.
  • Assess candidates and decide on the appointment of a suitable candidate.

      13.6  Roles and Responsibilities of the Human Capital Section

The Human Capital Section is expected to:

  • Agree to the Talent Acquisition Project Plan.
  • Report on progress on the plan on a weekly basis to the Hiring Manager.
  • Keep information on jobs, positions and candidates and observe access rights to this information.
  • Develop assessment instruments and tools and make these available to relevant structures.
  • Ensure adherence to this policy.

      13.7  Roles and Responsibilities of the Security and Facilities Section

The Security and Facilities Section is expected to:

  • Provide Pre-Employment Screening support services in the Talent Acquisition process.
  • Issue and manage Security Certificates.
  • Coordinate the vetting process for employees
  • Advice the Human Capital Manager and the Commissioner on security screening and vetting outcomes

      13.8  Roles and Responsibilities of the Finance Division

The Finance Division will be expected to:

  • Compile a budget for the Staff Establishment of the Commission every year.
  • Confirm availability of budget for positions that are under the Talent Acquisition Process.
  • Approve allocations of finding to positions that were not funded at the beginning of the financial year.
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