Dept preached non-racialism, but let racism flourish - employee

2016-07-15 21:57
Inside the ConCourt after the ruling. (Lizeka Tandwa, News24)

Inside the ConCourt after the ruling. (Lizeka Tandwa, News24)

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Johannesburg – Correctional Services preached non-racialism while allowing racist policies to flourish, one of its employees said outside the Constitutional Court on Friday.

“What we have found most frustrating all this time was the statement of leaders preaching unity and non-racialism, while on a practical level these racist practices and policies were allowed to flourish unchallenged," Christopher February said.

He was one of seven Western Cape Correctional Services employees the court ruled had been unfairly discriminated against because they were not promoted based on their race. 

An elated February, who was close to tears as he delivered his speech, said it was a victory for democracy, for all members of the minority group, and for everyone who believed in South Africa.

He said his and his colleagues’ four-year court battle had been difficult.  

“Our enemy was racism, but most specifically institutional racism in Correctional Services that we knew was immoral and wrong and had to be defeated," February said.

He thanked Solidarity for taking their fight to the courts. He said they had knocked on several doors, including civil society groups, and were turned down, before turning to the trade union.

February said the department had for years only appointed only blacks, to the exclusion of coloureds.

Many officials had their hopes and dreams shattered by what February called the department’s institutionalised racism.

The case began with judgments by the Labour Court and Labour Appeal Court, which dismissed efforts by 10 department employees in the Western Cape to be promoted.

Despite the fact that they were recommended for promotion, the department decided against it. It justified the decision with its employment equity plan.

Nine of the employees were coloured and one white. Only seven of the coloured employees were granted leave to appeal to the Constitutional Court.


Read more on:    johannesburg  |  employment equity  |  correctional services

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