2009-05-08 00:00

A DURBAN employee of a fast-food franchise was recently fired for wearing a traditional wristband. A storm has ensued with the provincial MEC for Arts and Culture claiming this action is an infringement of constitutional rights and shows disrespect for other people’s traditions. The minister went on to proclaim that this would not be tolerated and the African National Congress Women’s League weighed in with accusations of racism.

All of this is indeed possible. But when are politicians going to abandon the unwise practice of knee-jerk reaction and learn to treat disputes with more caution? In this case there may well be health and safety issues involved that are as securely entrenched in law as the rights of an individual. Wild claims of discrimination around issues like this are unwise and often unseemly. Far too often the role of a victim is assumed and supported before all the facts are known.

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