The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) says they received a complaint regarding the teacher, Glen Snyman, who self-identifies as African while his race is officially recorded as Coloured.
In addition to assessing the complaint in terms of its Complaints Handling Procedures, the Commission says it will also assess whether the official use of racial categories leads to human rights violations.
Snyman was charged with fraud by the Western Cape Education Department for self-identifying as African on a CV while he had been recorded as Coloured on other official documents. The case has since been withdrawn.
The SAHRC says, “The South African government uses a system of racial self-classification for purposes of gathering data for the national census. However, at the same time, the government uses apartheid-era racial categorisations to pursue and measure redress of unfair discrimination through special measures aimed at achieving greater substantive equality,”.
The Commission says that, while it understands that these special measures, such as Employment Equity and Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment, to redress past and present discrimination, “special measures should be flexible enough to cater for evolving societal nuances as South Africa pursues the transformative constitutional objectives of equality, human dignity and freedom,”.
The Commission says that there needs to be a balance between recognising the importance of self-identification and implementing measures to achieve equality.