Parliament to look at race definitions for businesses in South Africa

Parliament’s Select Committee on Petitions and Executive Undertakings will on Thursday (24 February) consider a petition from the People Against Racial Classification (PARC).

PARC, a community-based non-profit organisation, is calling for the removal of the use of the word ‘Coloured’ from all official government forms, private institutions and the Employment Equity Act.

According to the petition, the word ‘Coloured’ is confusing, derogatory, racist and conceals the true historical identity of the Khoi and San people.

Furthermore, the petitioner argues that it is racist to think that adding two different races together creates a third race, namely that of Coloured, or to believe that Black or White are pure races.

The petition calls on Parliament to review the race definitions of African and Black as defined by the Employment Equity Act. The Act defines Black people to include Africans, Coloureds and Indians – a definition that creates confusion, according to the petition.

The petitioner argues that it is also commonly known amongst South African citizens that every South African citizen is an “African”, including White and Chinese South Africans. “African” is a collective name.

Only in the Act does “Black people” become a collective name. The race classification law, the Population Registration Act was repealed on 27 June 1991.


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Parliament to look at race definitions for businesses in South Africa