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Solidarity takes strong stand against SAHRC’s blatant about-face on race

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Solidarity takes strong stand against SAHRC’s blatant about-face on race

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5th December 2023

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Solidarity demands answers from the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) regarding its race report to the United Nations’ Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD).

The SAHRC report was presented to CERD shortly after Solidarity as well as the government also appeared before the committee. 

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Solidarity expressly demands answers because the SAHRC, as CERD’s watchdog in South Africa, made a complete about-turn on its own viewpoints regarding racial laws. The latest SAHRC report contradicts its own equality report of 2018 and Solidarity will not accept that.

In the 2018 report, the SAHRC recommended that affirmative action legislation should be adapted to target groups with greater nuance, based on need as well as social and economic circumstances. They also demanded that the government should give feedback to the SAMRC within six months of the release of the equality report. 

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However, their latest UN report paints a different picture. 

“This report even welcomes a quota system and then also calls for even stricter application of race laws – as if their own equality report suddenly does not exist any longer. 

“They also support the proposed amendments to legislation on employment equity, but they also believe these are not rigid enough. The SAHRC now believes businesses that are exempted because the employ 50 or fewer employees must also be subjected to the race regulations,” said Solidarity Chief Executive Dr Dirk Hermann. 

In a letter, Solidarity demanded an explanation from the SAHRC about this, and also asked whether their 2018 equality report had been adjusted of if it even still exists. 

The SAHRC must also explain why the government apparently did not heed the 2018 report, and why the SAHRC apparently did nothing about it. 

In addition, the SAHRC, as CERD’s watchdog, is obliged to report non-compliance with the UN convention on racial discrimination. 

“As for their request for even stricter racial regulations, we would like to know how this complies with the UN convention’s demands for measures that are context sensitive and temporary, and how it can be said to be based on socio-economic needs,” Hermann said. 

“The one moment the SAHRC says strict racial quotas should be revised, and the next  moment they demand even stricter measures of the same kind.”

See Solidarity's letter to the SAHRC Attached.

 

Issued by Solidarity

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