Vegetarian bites back
A Western Cape provincial official was transferred because of his lifestyle, the Cape Town Labour Court heard yesterday.
Transport MEC Robin Carlisle's former spokesman, Steven Otter, was recently transferred to Premier Helen Zille's strategic communications unit.
In an urgent application for an order restoring him to his old job, Otter claimed that the transfer was illegal and he was discriminated against because he was a vegetarian and a teetotaller.
His lawyer, Jerome van der Schyff, said the department had been trying to "get rid of" him since last year .
"What is crystal clear is that the minister does not like the fact that the applicant has an alternative diet," he said.
"This is his choice not to consume alcohol."
He said the only logical conclusion was that there was unease about Otter fitting in. The ideal employee was "an alpha male, someone who eats red meat".
Otter wants the transfer set aside but someone has already been hired to replace him.
The respondents are the provincial government, Carlisle and transport and public works department head Hector Eliott.