By Johann Theron
Racial laws in South Africa were derived in principle from American Minority-Law despite South African blacks being a dominant majority.
The SA Effect
Thabo Mbeki implemented the current racial classification in South Africa where biological superiority is accorded to black Africans being the “source” of all DNA origins. The lesser races identified in the SA context as Indian, Colored and lastly Whites, are penalized regarding privileges in terms of Affirmative Action and Broad Based Black Empowerment.
It means that whiteness carries a severe penalty.
The famous Mbeki trick however, is that race “identification” is not made by somebody other than the self. In other words, any individual can identify his/her own preference of race regardless of the actual medical opinion.
After the ANC won the 1994 elections most companies forced their white employees to re-educate by taking a one day “culture course”. This was a mistake since it was actually the blacks needing education.
Soon afterwards “transition” courses were implemented for black pre-school and for pre-university candidates. In addition companies have black ABET (adult based education training) for literacy. The last training (not yet provided) is Cultural Bridge Training to help the average black employee with his/her safe daily cross-over from a tribal home to a Western workplace. (Dual-culture)
This unsafe activity has only been mitigated in a limited manner and requires more attention. For example schools implemented “breakfast” for school kids and after-school supervision classes, companies allowed continuation of special toilets for “workers” to come in, have breakfast and change clothing vice versa in afternoons (with showers). This means that kids do not get food or supervision at home and that worker’s wives do not safely prepare their husbands for work.
In fact, the migratory system has led to unsafe housing, diseased relationships and general populist conduct including illegal conduct such as “dual production lines” i.e. industrialized production theft in companies as well as aggressive labor members and aggressive labor strikes as demonstrated at Marikana with the mass shooting by the police.
Recent farm employee strikes in the Western Cape Province were actually classified as “unrest” i.e. sabotage is widespread.
Labor Unions in South Africa are in an alliance with Government and unfairly exert pressure on companies anyway they can. It is unfortunately a managerial duty to get “realistic” in order to continue making profits.
A good example is a suburban home having an outside toilet. The toilet is not marked “for blacks”, but 90% of sub-contractors using it will be black. Experience shows that these toilets must be cleaned and maintained with higher frequency than those inside the house – as is the case in shopping malls.
Racism and Hate speech
It is forbidden to treat a person as inferior because of his “race”. This means if a person who has classified “himself” as white, subsequently falsely identifies a person acting in an inferior manner, “as black” who has also classified “himself” as black, then and only then the first person is a racist and should be punished according to the law.
In other words four conditions have to be confirmed before a charge of racism can be entertained. The two people must each have identified “themselves” as opposing races and then the first person must be proven to have identified the second to be the same “race” that he classified himself as (that day). Then the inferiority aspect must be proven as well. It will only work if identification of the “inferior” conduct can be proven to have in fact been superior. If I say that you are a black idiot for not passing exams (and it is true) then it is not racism, but more hate speech.
Recent legal cases regarding Hate speech such as the song “To Kill a Farmer” was not treated as racism, but as hate speech – finding that the song should not be sung.
False accusations can lead to charges of Crimen injuria /Libel
One can imagine that an outburst of racism can affect reputations and can also lead to loss of income such as was now found in the entertainment industry. These charges, as well as the outcome activities, should really follow a sort of conflict management process where it ends in a form of re-conciliation.
A racism charge can never be brought to a group such as “management” – it must be individualized.
Careful analysis is required of the individuals involved and their agenda’s where the charges are generally found to be incorrect and even “leading”, but the “conflict” is unresolved requiring emotional support. Some success has been evident where agreeable values were developed and employees encouraged to adopt, benefitting compan(ies). Unnecessary charges of racism should be avoided because it could escalate to libel cases, dragging out any chance of deflating emotions.
Any employees charged with racism, can respond by treating it as libelous from “management” – putting management on the spot. But the same management cannot be charged by a victim unless the “offender” has been convicted. South African Law is interesting – unless one is reminded that the CEO is likely to be black.
It is medically a fact that races exist and people should be encouraged to understand that. In other words it is not really something you can construct in your own mind being something today and something different tomorrow.
Otherwise companies cannot embrace the “productive” diversity which race (admittedly a small part of diversity) present in a company values-based culture. This requires acknowledgement of race identification and conflict followed by realism of economic response.