Thursday, July 3, 2008
Black business and professional organisations have rejected the Pretoria High Court's ruling defining Chinese South Africans as black people
The ruling defined Chinese South Africans as "coloured", qualifying them as beneficiaries under the Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) Act and the Employment Equity Act. "This judgment, in our view, revises a long-held historical view of the democratic struggle in South Africa," National African Federated Chambers of Commerce president Buhle Mthethwa told reporters in Johannesburg. Economic empowerment did not address all forms of discrimination but sought to identify those who had suffered the most under the apartheid regime, Mthethwa said. The identification of African, coloured and Indian people as major beneficiaries of BBBEE and Employment Equity was based on a sophisticated socio-economic analysis that took into consideration issues such as poor access to quality education, lack of economic access and poor living conditions. "The economic transformation efforts sought to deal with the primary defining force of apartheid discrimination, which expressed itself through the socio-economic oppression of Africans, Indians and coloureds, hence their over-representation and visibility in the anti-apartheid struggle," Mthethwa said. "We are also disappointed in our government's failure to consult major stakeholders on this history-defining court case. It is our considered view that the responsibility of clarifying legislative and policy ambiguities rests with the legislative or executive arms of government," he said. "We call on the South African government to appeal this irrational decision. We furthermore call on political parties, principally majority black parties to reject this inexplicable decision. As black business and professionals, we see the Pretoria judgment as a disappointing revision of the struggle for economic emancipation in South Africa," Mthethwa said.