By Dr Dirk Hermann
Race, race, race everywhere, race wherever you look and listen. When a primary school girl has to be selected for a netball team, it is all about race. When a matriculant applies for university admission, all that counts is race. When applying for study funds it is race that matters. A job application is all about race. Promotion is all about race. Should you then start your own business, race is there too. If you have to take disciplinary steps against someone you are racist. When a minister makes a mess of things, he or she plays the race card. When aid is granted amid a pandemic it is all about race. Race, race, race. South Africa has become racially insane. I say no to it, a thousand times no!
We should never become complacent about it or start to accept it as normal. We should not have patience with the racial abnormalities in South Africa. If an injustice occurs that often, it is easily accepted as normal, and people begin to endure it. However, we dare not tolerate being judged on how we look. I say no, thousands of times no!
South Africa has become the world’s most racially regulated country. The government believes race is the highest authority in the country. Race trumps even the law. South Africa is treated as a racial state and the Constitution is apparently there to support it. Inequality is presented as equality, racism is presented as non-racialism, exclusivity is presented as inclusivity and racial domination is presented as representativeness.
A new all-time low was reached in South Africa’s racial ideology when, during a pandemic, aid was granted on the basis of race. The pandemic and the lockdown did not discriminate on the basis of race, but the aid that was granted did. Your need for help was not considered but what you look like was. This is what we have to say no to, again and again, and do so a thousand times.
N.P. van Wyk Louw wrote about the dangers that an entire generation might pass without protest. He writes that protest is even more important than winning a battle. Victory is possible in any battle, but to surrender always means the battle was lost. In every generation’s lifetime there comes a time for protest. If a generation does not rise to the occasion is not only a betrayal of the present generation but also of the next generation.
The government’s racial insanity begs for protest. It does not ask for resignation. We have to say no to this, a thousand times no!
Solidarity is at the forefront of protest against racial insanity. We are not going to abandon our protest. We often appear in South African courts over this insanity, we have already taken to the streets in protest against Sasol’s racist practices and we have successfully put our case to the United Nations. We have to carry on and on. The art lies in perseverance. We have to protest more and more against what is wrong. I am saying no, a thousand times no!
The next phase of this protest is to intensify international pressure. We must lodge complaints against the government here in the country but must also do so internationally. South Africa has an open economy. Although the government may want to ignore it, international opinion cannot be ignored. International pressure must form part of our strategy.
Solidarity is going to lodge complaints against the government with the United Nations’ Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) and will submit motions to various European parliaments. A comprehensive complaint has been drafted by South Africa’s top legal experts to be lodged with this UN committee as a formal complaint.
This follows on from the successes Solidarity achieved at the UN in 2016. After Solidarity had appeared before CERD, the committee criticised the government’s racial classification and asked the government to explain to the committee why racial classification is still used.
In 2018 the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) released a report stating that the government must adapt the country’s affirmative action legislation to comply with the UN’s recommendation, specifically with regard to racial classification and a more nuanced approach to affirmative action.
The government did not comply with either the UN’s recommendations or with the SAHRC’s recommendations. This now puts Solidarity in a very strong position to lodge a formal complaint against the South African government at international platforms, including the UN and European parliaments.
For a complaint or motion to be successful, two aspects are key. The fist is a strongly substantiated complaint. Our complaint has substance: South Africa is violating the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. The country was a signatory to the convention and must thus obey it. We can therefore obtain a ruling against the government.
The second aspect is to be able to prove local support. People by their thousands must collectively say no to racial insanity. The cause of ten people complaining is weak; the cause of 500 000 saying no is incredibly strong. To appear before the United Nations or to submit a motion to European governments that enjoys the support of 500 000 people strengthens our cause immensely.
Now is the time to stand together. The next step is to bring major international pressure to bear on the government. It is now our generation’s time to protest against racial insanity in our masses. We dare not let it become normalised. We must support the international mass complaint in huge numbers. Now is the time to say no, a thousand times no!
To support the complaint to the United Nations against the government’s racial insanity, click here.