South Africa: 20 years after the Mandela miracle, SA still grapples with race issues (News Analysis by Craig Urquhart, PANA Correspondent, Johannesburg)

Johannesburg, South Africa (PANA) - Twenty years after Nelson Mandela swept into power on a ticket promising racial reconciliation and Archbishop Desmond Tutu declared South Africa as the “Rainbow Nation”, the country is still grappling with race issues, PANA reported Saturday.

Over the past week, a number of high profile cases served notice that this former land of Apartheid remains deeply divided in terms of race related matters, so much so that a former senior white policewoman who failed to be promoted because of her skin colour has taken her plight to the United Nations.

Renate Barnard’s nine-year legal battle to address her plight this week reached another dead-end.

The former Lieutenant-Colonel said she would now approach the UN and International Labour Organisation in hope of that they would force Pretoria to comply with the spirit of conventions it has ratified on eliminating racism.

The Constitutional Court this week granted the South Africa’s police force leave to appeal against a Supreme Court of Appeal finding that the police had discriminated unfairly against Barnard, who was rejected twice for a position on the grounds that white women were over-represented.

Judge Dikgang Moseneke ruled that while the Constitution calls for a more equal and fair society, the way in which the National Commissioner of Police had implemented an employment equity plan did not amount to discrimination against Barnard.

The organisation Solidarity said it could not believe that the Constitutional Court ruled that the injustice against Barnard is in line with the Constitution, and “we believe that history will show that this judgment was wrong.”

Meanwhile, Julius Malema, the outspoken leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), this week took his call for the nationalisation of mines to the National Assembly and urged it to address the racial legacy of Apartheid.

“The mineral resources of this country belongs to all South Africans and only through nationalisation will the country enjoy a more democratic and socialised ownership and control of mineral wealth by all including the workers.

''The problem is that mining companies refuse to shed off their historical baggage, and still exercise authority to continue the pre-Apartheid and Apartheid project of enslaving Africans in these mines and rejecting them in the land of their own birth,” he said in his speech.

And as Tutu’s “Rainbow Nation” continues to show signs of fracturing on race lines, the Archbishop himself waded into the debate about transformation in sports by saying the national Springbok rugby team lacks black representation.

“I lament the tortoise pace at which transformation at the highest level is being effected,” he said in a statement received by PANA.

Tutu criticised the South African Rugby Union for the pace of transformation in the team, and said it was “particularly hurtful” to see the selection of black players as “peripheral squad members never given the chance to settle down and earn their spurs.”

While the world continues to salute South Africa for its relatively peaceful revolution, which saw legislated racism dumped into the scrapheap of history, the country continues to wrestle with its racial demons.
-0- PANA CU/SEG 6Sept2014

06 september 2014 12:33:42




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