ADVOCATES FOR TRANSFORMATION
The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (POPCRU), a non-racial organisation of progressive civil servants in the safety and security cluster, welcomes the ground-breaking decision handed down by the Constitutional Court of South Africa on Tuesday 2 September 2014 on the vexed issue of Affirmative Action in the case of South African Police Service v Solidarity on behalf of Barnard.
Fittingly, the decision marks literally the dawn of the Spring season in our country’s pursuit of the constitutional values of human dignity and the achievement of equality. Indeed, it is significant that the Constitutional Court is unanimous in finding that “affirmative action measures are not unfair”. POPCRU welcomes in equal measure the fittingly bold and overdue pronouncement by the Constitutional Court of South Africa that the insinuation that affirmative action measures “are a refuge for the mediocre or incompetent” is both hurtful and incorrect.
Equally, the union welcomes that the Constitutional Court of South Africa has re-iterated, lest we forget, and stated boldly and in express terms that apartheid is “indeed a crime against humanity”. POPCRU also welcomes the express acknowledgement by the Constitutional Court of South Africa that even the “innocent” benefitted from the wrong that was apartheid by reason only of their race. Indeed, POPCRU acknowledges the Constitutional Court’s recognition that “one can benefit from a wrong without being guilty of wrongdoing”.
The organisation hopes that this poignant acknowledgement by the Constitutional Court of South Africa disposes of the clarion call by some organisations for an affirmative action sell-by date to be imposed long before restitutionary measures have even scratched the surface in pursuit of remedying the damage caused by apartheid over decades.
Now that the highest Court in the land has authoritatively expressed itself on Affirmative Action, POPCRU invites Solidarity and other organisations to accept and respect the Rule of Law and help build the nation in general and the police service in particular because the pursuit of sectarian interests are not in the best interests of either the police service or the nation we have a constitutional duty to serve.
Threats by Solidarity “to fight back” following what it terms “the controversial Constitutional Court ruling” are hardly helpful in our forward march to transformation and pursuit of equality and human dignity for all. The Constitutional Court judgment is unanimous. It is not controversial. That Solidarity is disappointed by the judgment does not make the judgment itself “controversial”.
The pugnacious statement released by Solidarity on Thursday 4 September 2014 that “we are not going to sit back and meekly accept the racial discrimination against our members” can only serve to harden the arteries than contribute to nation-building of which the late President Nelson Mandela, whom Solidarity’s Chief Executive sought to invoke in his earlier statement, is renowned. Solidarity must do the honourable thing and submit to the Rule of Law by accepting the judgment of the highest Court in the land.
Issued by POPCRU 05/09/2014
For more information contact:
POPCRU General-Secretary Nkosinathi Theledi