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ARTICLE: HISTORICIDE

Our history mirrors the troubled histories of many other countries in North and South America and Australasia that were ‘discovered’ and settled by Europeans between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries.  The indigenous populations were conquered, some were enslaved and nearly all lost their ancestral lands.   As Chief Red Cloud of the Sioux observed: “They made us many promises, but they kept only one: they promised to take our land – and they did.” Some indigenous people died resisting the invaders – but many, many more succumbed to the settlers’ diseases – perhaps as many as 90% of the population of South and Central America.

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ARTICLE: BRACKENFELL: THE AFTERMATH

The EFF obtained a permit for a demonstration by 100 people.  In the event, an estimated 2 000 of its supporters descended on the suburb.  Hardly any of the protesters wore masks and far exceeded the 500 permitted at outdoor meetings under COVID19 regulations.   According to the SAHRC some protesters were carrying golf clubs, axes and stones.    They caused serious damage to the Brackenfell Post Office, to traffic lights and roads and to a car dealership.  They burned a fire engine and set fire to grass. 

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CASE DISCUSSION: NO TOLERANCE FOR RACISM IN OUR CONSTITUTIONAL DEMOCRACY: SOUTH AFRICAN REVENUE SERVICE V COMMISSION FOR CONCILIATION, MEDIATION AND ARBITRATION AND TWO OTHERS

foter concourt exteriorIn a unanimous judgment delivered by the Chief Justice Mogoeng, the Constitutional Court reinforced the founding values of our Constitution, which is built on human dignity and the achievement of a non-racial South Africa. This judgment sends a clear message to all employers and employees that racism will not and cannot be condoned in the workplace.

The matter was heard on appeal from the Labour Appeal Court (LAC) and concerned the dismissal of a South African Revenue Service (SARS) employee in 2007 after a dispute where he referred to his senior colleague as a “k****r” and stated that “a k****r must not tell me what to do”. In terms of a collective agreement between SARS and the unions, SARS conducted a disciplinary hearing and the employee pleaded guilty to the use of abusive and derogatory language towards his senior. The sanction imposed by the independent Chairperson, which was agreed to by all parties at the disciplinary hearing, was a final written warning valid for six months, as well as suspension without pay for 10 days. The employee was also directed to undergo counselling. The SARS Commissioner (the Commissioner) unilaterally changed the final written warning to a dismissal, without affording the employee the opportunity to make representations and effectively going against a sanction approved by the SARS representative who attended the disciplinary hearing. The aggrieved employee referred the matter to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) on the ground of unfair dismissal.

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ARTICLE: NO PLACE FOR RACISM IN OUR SOCIETY

hands-of-harmony The Constitution enshrines the values, rights and principles of the society we aspire to be, yet are still struggling to become. These values – including dignity, achievement of equality, the advancement of human rights and freedom, non-racialism and non-sexism – have little value on paper, unless given life by a society. We still have to achieve real and substantive equality in many areas of our society. For some of us – irrespective of race – the real meaning of equality still evades us. It is quite often viewed as what to get or keep instead of what to give. The biggest hurdle we are facing as a society in this regard, is not how to achieve equality by way of policies, programmes and legislation (although the latter certainly deserve some scrutiny of its own), but rather how to overcome our own prejudices.

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