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Law: Petitions against Affirmative action to be Delivered in Wheelbarrows


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Petitions against Affirmative action to be Delivered in Wheelbarrows

Solidarity plans to start such a comprehensive campaign for an end date for affirmative action that the number of petitions will not be handed over to people of Gauteng, but delivered in wheelbarrows. Tough negotiations about affirmative action are going to start and what we need now is the support of hundreds of thousands of South Africans.


These plans follow on the remarks by Mr Kgalema Motlanthe, vice president of the ANC and minister in the presidency, the past week in Stellenbosch that the ANC will consider a phasing out clause for affirmative action.


Mr Motlanthe did not say that affirmative action will disappear next year, but indicated the ANC’s willingness to talk about it. This is a big step compared to previous statements by the current Minister of Labour, Membathisi Mdladlana, that affirmative action will not be phased out in his lifetime.


Motlanthe is now opening the possibility for negotiation. Solidarity understands the world of collective bargaining. If an item is open for negotiation the power struggle starts and this is the time supporters start to show their support for phasing out affirmative action and start to mobilise so that they can prove a power base when negotiations are underway. The stronger you are the better you negotiate. If you cannot show your power you are busy with collective begging and not collective bargaining.


Solidarity is planning a massive campaign to mobilise support for phasing out affirmative action. The core of the campaign will be an extensive petition campaign. We aim to deliver tens of thousands of signatures to the government in wheelbarrows to indicate the support for the phasing out of affirmative action. Settlements during negotiations are implored, but bargained. Our call to supporters for the phasing out of affirmative action is to get activistic about the matter.


Last year Solidarity had talks with Motlanthe about affirmative action. This was followed up by talks with Mr Jacob Zuma, leader of the ANC. We tabled two crucial items in or talks with Zuma. The first was that affirmative action should be phased out by exempting young people from affirmative action and the second was a moratorium on affirmative action where scarce and critical jobs are concerned. Zuma reacted by saying that Solidarity’s ideas are refreshing.


During the last talks with Mr Zuma at a discussion committee between the ANC and Solidarity it was agreed to take the matter further. A channel for talks was created and the issue of affirmative action is open for discussion. The next phase of the talks is to mobilise support.


We will continue pressuring the ANC for action in this regard. We will intensify the pressure so that a climate for tough negotiations is created.  Apart from the petition campaign the pressure will also include international lobbying and especially lobbying at the United Nations’ International Labour Organisation, which that demands that affirmative action should be temporary.


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