Solidarity’s complaint about racial discrimination against the South African government will be heard by die United Nations (UN) in August 2016. The UN recently confirmed this in a letter to Solidarity.
In September this year, the trade union submitted a complaint in terms of the International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination to the UN in Genève. South Africa is a signatory and member state of this convention and the government must submit a report on the country’s compliance with the convention every two years.
Civic organisations may submit a shadow report in reaction to a government’s report. The watchdog committee on the convention can then make recommendations to the member country that must then be implemented and on which a report has to be submitted. Solidarity’s complaint is in the form of a shadow report, following the government’s latest report submitted in December 2014. This report by the government was submitted eight years after its due date.
Dirk Hermann, Chief Executive of Solidarity, explained that, as part of the complaints procedure, Solidarity has to present its shadow report to the above-mentioned committee of the UN at its next session. “In our presentation we pointed out that the South Africa government has violated international law in numerous instances. We also pointed out that it was our democratic duty to bring it to the attention of the relevant forums,” Hermann said.
The complaint follows inter alia on Renate Barnard’s nine-year struggle against racial quotas in the South African Police Service (SAPS) which she eventually lost in the Constitutional Court. However, Solidarity’s complaint also focuses in general on the government’s use of racial quotas and the application thereof in terms of the country’s national racial demographics.