Solidarity submits complaint against government’s racial policy at the United Nations (UN)
28 July 2021
Solidarity today lodged a complaint against the South African government with the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD).
This complaint focuses on the South African government’s racial policy. This is the first time that a substantive complaint is lodged against the government’s racial policy.
“It is a historical complaint. Ironically, CERD was instituted following the ANC’s recruitment of support against the previous government’s policy of racial classification. Now the ANC government is being charged in accordance with its policy on racial classification,” said Dr Dirk Hermann, Chief Executive Officer of Solidarity.
If Solidarity’s complaint is successful, the government will have to change its policy of affirmative action. South African legislation stipulates that local legislation must be adjusted in accordance with international conventions. Should the government still refuse, the country could be suspended from this convention and Solidarity could use South African courts to force the government to change their policies.
This complaint against the government stems from a long process. Solidarity already submitted a report to CERD in 2015 stating that the government did not comply with the UN’s International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racism. This led CERD to make a recommendation criticising the current government’s racial classification that is similar to apartheid.
The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has found in a report that the Employment Equity Act should be amended, following CERD’s recommendation. However, the government did not implement the CERD recommendation or the SAHRC’s finding.
“The fact that the government persists with its racial policy, despite CERD’s and the SAHRC’s reports, puts Solidarity in a very strong position to challenge the government’s racial policy at the UN. South Africa undersigns the UN Convention against racism. The country is therefore obliged to adjust its legislation accordingly,” Hermann added.
According to Hermann, the government is trying to normalise a race-based society in South Africa through the ANC that enforces its ideology in workplaces, at universities, on the sports field and even with children in schools.
“The government took its racial policy further than any international convention allows. Where you work, what position you hold, what you are allowed to study, and what sports team you are performing in are not awarded based on merit but judged and handed out according to race. In South Africa, your ability to meet the requirement of a specific skin colour is considered higher than your skills,” Hermann concluded.
Read the complaint here here.
Issued by Dirk Hermann, Chief Executive Officer, Solidarity, 28 July 2021