SAIRR accused of bias towards DA
Johannesburg -The SA Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) was on Tuesday described as the Democratic Alliance's "research department" by the SA Communist Party in the North West.
"It is now becoming clear... that this institute has bias towards a particular social class and more on [a] particular race, unfortunately they have chosen to speak for the Democratic Alliance and white minority, at the expense of the working class and the poor especially the majority of South Africans," said SACP North West provincial secretary Madoda Sambatha in a statement.
The findings of two studies had shown the SACP which class and race the institute represented, he said. The first study found that the DA-led City of Cape Town provided more free basic services and the second was a study which found that South Africa was becoming a welfare state with social grants increasing by 300% over the last nine years.
"[With] the two statements opposition parties especially the DA and Helen Zille must be extremely happy, their research department called the South African Institute of Race Relations is delivering on its mandate."
The findings of the two studies were contained in the SAIRR's SA Survey, published annually.
SAIRR deputy chief executive Frans Cronje on Tuesday said the institute had in the past been accused of "being a front" for the ANC, the Inkatha Freedom Party as well as the DA.
"I think people will see what they want to see in the data. The survey produced over 1 000 major findings in SA, including successes of service delivery and the survey on white income being eight times higher.
"You can pick and choose and find findings and say this proves a certain bias," he said.
Cronje said he also received "racist and threatening abuse" from white South Africans who say the findings are "designed to undermine the white minority".
"It's a very interesting position we are in, in that it comes from all sides.
"White racists and the likes of Irvin Jim from Numsa, who accuse us of promoting slavery, have more in common than they could believe."
The National Union of Metalworkers of SA general secretary Irvin Jim in a statement on Monday accused SAIRR chief executive, John Kane-Berman, of having an "unbridled appetite for slavery".
Jim was responding to comments made by Kane-Berman published in the Sunday Times.
Kane-Berman was quoted saying the country needed "labour market liberalisation.
"We need to repeal all the labour laws and replace them with a basic employment act that guarantees certain fundamental rights like maternity leave and safety. We need to get rid of minimum wages and abolish bargaining councils.
"We need to change the constitution to say that everybody has the right to seek and obtain work without the artificial interference of the state, labour unions and bargaining councils."
Numsa viewed this as an attack on workers' rights.
The SACP further accused the institute of ignoring the strides made by the ANC government and ignoring the rising levels of poverty in the country -- which made social grants vital for the survival of many communities and their families.
Cronje added that much of the information contained in the SA Survey was sourced directly from government, from the Independent Electoral Commission and Statistics SA.
"But we realise its [the criticism] part of living in a free and open society and also a society where people are afraid to reveal key trends because they are afraid of people like Irvin Jim."
Numsa spokesberson Castro Ngobese on Tuesday issued a statement inviting the institute to an open public debate on socio-economic issues, such as decent jobs, labour laws, New Growth Path and the country's political dynamics.
The institute has in the past also raised the ire of the ANC - in 2009, the ANC issued a statement accusing the SAIRR of seeking to drive a wedge between the ruling party and its allies, the SACP, the Congress of SA Trade Unions and the SA National Civic Organisation.
This, after it published a paper titled: "Why the ANC can drop its alliance partners."