End racial policy now, asks Solidarity before the UN

Henry

Next Monday, Solidarity appears again before the UN’s Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) to lay a complaint against the South African government. The aim is to try to bring an end to race-based policy in South Africa, a process that already started in 2016.

“According to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), of which South Africa is a signatory, affirmative action measures may only be temporary in nature and must be based on socio-economic measures, rather than race,” says Dr. Dirk Hermann, managing director of Solidarity.

However, Solidarity believes that the draconian way in which the ANC applies race-based policy has always run counter to this and is the reason why it must be declared invalid as soon as possible.

“The second prize will be to force the government to at least link an end date to race-based policy, so that it cannot continue indefinitely.”

According to Hermann, the government’s racial system should instead be replaced with one that gives preference to merit.

“The focus on equality of outcomes must be replaced with a focus on equality of opportunities where the government makes much more effort to empower people on the input side.”

International sentiment is turning

Hermann believes Solidarity’s case is now even stronger than in 2016 because the international sentiment is turning away from the narrow application of race-based policy.

In June this year, the US Supreme Court delivered a far-reaching ruling that colleges in the US may no longer use race as a factor in their admissions policy.

The court’s decision follows court cases that challenged the policies of Harvard University and the University of North Carolina, that race-conscious admissions programs discriminated against white and Asian applicants.

“This so-called Harvard ruling supports our cause without any doubt because it confirms that the rest of the world is also moving away from race as a dominant consideration factor.”

On equal footing

Hermann believes that Solidarity is also in a stronger position than in 2016 because it now “enters the chalk as the government’s equals”.

“The power relationship shifted substantially earlier this year when Solidarity signed a settlement with the government to set certain limits on race-based labor legislation.”

This development was only possible because Solidarity put sustained pressure on the government over the years and slowly but surely began to command respect, says Hermann.

“However, it took blood sweat for Solidarity to finally get into this favorable position.”

‘Do you have patience?’

In 2016, an expert serving on CERD approached Hermann after their initial presentation before the committee. He had only one question: “Do you have patience?”

Diplomatic processes like this take an incredibly long time to bear fruit, but they are finally starting to turn in our favor, says Hermann.

“If we hadn’t started walking this path in 2016, we wouldn’t have been able to manage what we are managing now.”

This international process is also just one of many weapons in our arsenal against the government’s racial madness, explains Hermann.

“Everyone who serves on CERD is not the government’s friend. There is a lot of potential to use increased international pressure from the UN to undermine the government’s racial foundations locally.”

Solidarity believes that the government simply no longer has the luxury of applying racial legislation, because it has crippled practically all aspects of society.

“Of course, we intervene on behalf of minority groups that are directly harmed by the policy, but also on behalf of all citizens who suffer from the consequences of this legislation.”

The committee’s finding on the matter is expected within the next month.