Stop harmful and obsessive racial laws now, UN hears

Henry

Today, in a submission to the United Nations (UN), Solidarity asked that racial laws in South Africa should come to an end.

According to Solidarity, racial laws have done enough damage in South Africa and the country no longer has the luxury of filling jobs based on race.

The submission was made to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD). The South African government will appear before the same committee on Tuesday.

According to Solidarity, the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) and the International Labor Organization (ILO) state that racial programs must be temporary in nature. The recent settlement between Solidarity and the government confirmed this.

Dr. Dirk Hermann, chief executive of Solidarity, says the government’s obsession with racial representation means that South Africa’s race program is permanent. In a demographically rapidly changing population, the pursuit of racial representation will be permanent.

The time of laws that seek to manipulate the racial makeup of companies is over.

“Eskom is an excellent example of what happens due to racial legislation: an obsession with race over a long period of time has led to the loss of skills and institutional knowledge. It literally put our lights out. The state is imploding in several places and big cracks can be detected in the private sector,” says Hermann.

The focus must shift from output programs (racial quotas) to input programs (training and development). Training and development may be permanent.

The battle between Solidarity and the South African government at the United Nations has been going on since 2016. Solidarity then already argued that the government was violating this UN convention. After a petition from Solidarity, the South African Human Rights Commission found in a report that South Africa is in breach of the relevant convention. The South African government must demonstrate on Tuesday why it is not violating the convention.

See Solidarity’s report to CERD here.