Our Bill of Rights is a cornerstone of democracy in South Africa. It enshrines the rights of all people in our country and affirms the democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom.
In the Bill of Rights section dealing with equality it is stated:
The state may not unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds, including race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, language and birth.
On the other side of the ‘coin’ we have the Employment Equity Act which states:
The Employment Equity (EE) Act requires you to achieve equity in your workplace. And it says you can do this by doing these two things:
- Don’t discriminate; and
- Implement Affirmative Action (AA).
The EE Act goes on to say, ‘every company has to eliminate discrimination, BUT only designated employers have to implement AA.’
This means if you’re a designated employer, you must put AA measures in place to make sure designated groups are equally represented in your company.
Fine enough but what are ‘designated groups’ as defined:
The beneficiaries of affirmative action, also known as designated groups, are limited to black people, women and people with disabilities who:
- are citizens of the Republic of South Africa by birth or descent; or
- became citizens of the Republic of South Africa by naturalisation –
- (i) before 27 April 1994; or
- (ii) after 26 April 1994, who would have been entitled to acquire citizenship by naturalisation prior to that date but were precluded by Apartheid policies.
African, Coloured or Indian people who are foreign nationals and entered South Africa after 1994 can’t be categorised as designated groups.
Is this not discrimination against Coloured, Indian, Chinese and White Males?
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