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Assessing and promoting civil and minority rights in South Africa.

SAM Dirk Hermann[Source: by Karl Gemetzky.]

TRADE union Solidarity said on Wednesday it has begun to fight 34 more affirmative action court cases against the government and state-owned companies, as part of a campaign to fight the government’s “ideology” on racial representation in the workplace.

Solidarity said it had begun the campaign, believed to be the largest civil legal action in South Africa’s history, to bring “equality, dignity and fairness” to the workplace.

The announcement came a day before the Constitutional Court’s hearing of argument in a seven-year-old case brought by Solidarity against the use of national demographics in setting racial quotas. A pronouncement by the court is expected to provide clarity on the contentious policy of affirmative action and how it should be applied.

Solidarity brought the case after South African Police Service (SAPS) Captain Renate Barnard was passed over twice for promotion because of the SAPS’s use of national demographics for appointment. Solidarity argues that the use of such policy ignores the reality of regional demographics for minorities in South Africa.

The union said it would build a R10m legal fund to finance the 34 cases, which were in various stages of litigation. The campaign is also expected to raise issues such as the role of service delivery and the functionality of the civil service.

Solidarity executive officer Dirk Hermann said in a statement: “The state sets the pace in South Africa. If the state implements an unlawful practice, the private sector will follow suit and soon it will be applied so widely that the unlawful practice becomes lawful.”

South Africa at a Glance
57 700 000 (mid 2018 estimate)
4.4% y/y in April 2019 (CPI) & +6.5 y/y in April 2019 (PPI)
-3.2% q/q (1st quarter of 2019)
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