The Solidarity Legal Fund was established with one purpose in mind: To resist the government's wrongful enforcement of affirmative action.

Solidarity's struggle is for the sake of our children. It is necessary to end this unfairness now so that our children may have a future in which they can live a free, safe and prosperous life.

At present Solidarity is contesting 34 affirmative action cases nationwide on behalf of its members and the public, and has won 87% of all lawsuits. Solidarity is continuously working towards protecting the public from the government's obsession with race and race quotas. The government's continued enforcement of race quotas gives rise to the oppression of minority groups and the disregard of skills.

  • We have had ENOUGH of unfair affirmative action which sinks your carrier opportunities.
  • We have had ENOUGH of poor service delivery.
  • We have had ENOUGH of race being the only requirement for promotion.
  • We have had ENOUGH of affirmative action that is implemented in such a way that the playing field is not level.
  • We have had ENOUGH of quotas when it comes to the selection of sports teams

The affirmative action court cases Solidarity will be taking on in the coming year, will test various elements of affirmative action.

Because we should –

  • improve service delivery;
  • improve the effectiveness of the functioning of the civil service;
  • do away with the exclusion of race groups from advertisements for posts;
  • abolish the use of race quotas when employing staff and selecting sports teams;
  • not take regional demography unfairly into consideration;
  • protect minorities' right to dignity and equality.

These legal costs cannot be funded entirely from Solidarity membership fees. For this reason the Legal Fund was established and we ask for public support to make this project financially possible.

In every court case another element of affirmative action is put to the test. Therefore, Solidarity's legal strategy is wide-ranging and this is exactly why we should tackle these issues head-on.

If we don't do it, who will? It is your and my responsibility.

The trade union's next big step is to approach the United Nations by submitting a shadow report on affirmative action.

Solidarity defends its shadow report on 3 August 2016 at the United Nations and intends to prove through this shadow report that the way the government applies race legislation is unconstitutional and contrary to the United Nation's convention on the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination.

“This is the first time since 1994 that the South African government is charged with racial discrimination. The salient part of the complaint is that the South African government’s absolute focus on racial representation is in contravention of the provisions of CERD. The government's racial policy goes beyond that which is allowed internationally for affirmative action and it no longer fulfils the international requirements of affirmative action.”

All these lawsuits are instituted separately in order to eliminate race quotas. Each one instituted has an influence to ensure that a society that is not racially driven is achieved.

  • 2016

    Employment equity plan declared unlawful
    The legality of the 2010-2014 affirmative action plan of the SAPS was referred to the Labour Court as Solidarity was of the opinion that the plan did not comply with the requirements of the Constitution and the Employment Equity Act. We maintained that the plan was based on a quota system (which is specifically forbidden by the Act). The case was found in favour of Solidarity and the SAPS’s affirmative action plan for the period 2010-2014 was declared illegal by the Labour Court.
    Employee appointed retrospectively
    A white male with many years’ experience applied for a promotional post at the Tshwane City Council. However, the post was never filled. The employer alleged that the only reason why the white male was not appointed was his race and gender. At the time of the promotion rounds the City Council also did not have an approved affirmative action plan in place. The Labour Court found in Solidarity’s favour and ordered that the City Council appoint the applicant in the post retrospectively.

    The applicant was also awarded a compensation amount.
    Interdict granted against SAPS
    Solidarity approached the Labour Court with an urgent application for the awarding of an interdict against the SAPS’s promotion policy for 5000 posts advertised in February 2016. The basis of the application was that the SAPS may not use the current (2015-2019) affirmative action plan during the promotion process, as the current plan is in essence the same as the previous plan that has already been declared illegal by the Labour Court. The Labour Court found in Solidarity’s favour and the urgent interdict was awarded.

    The SAPS was forbidden to use the current affirmative action plan as well as the promotion plan as criterion in any promotional post or appointment in the SAPS.
  • 2015

    Appointment policy contrary to Constitution and Employment Equity Act
    The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development’s appointment policy with regard to liquidators was taken to the Supreme Court. The policy discriminated against the appointment of white males as liquidators. The result went in favour of SARIPA (as well as Solidarity who was added as amicus). The judge expressed himself strongly about the use of quotas and mentioned specifically that it was against the Constitution as well as the Employment Equity Act.
    Solidarity ‘irritates’ the government and its trade unions
    Solidarity requested the SAPS to gain access to negotiations during the compilation of the 2015-2019 affirmative action plan so as to represent the minority groups (people of the non-designated groups).

    The SAPS refused and Solidarity approached the Labour Court with a request for admission to the negotiation table.
    The result went against Solidarity and the judge mentioned in his verdict that he was of the opinion that Solidarity had launched the application to “irritate” the opposing parties (SAPS, Popcru and Sapu).

    Solidarity in the meanwhile also questioned the equity and legality of the 2015-2019 affirmative action plan and the matter was referred to the Labour Court.
    DCS ordered to cease unfair application of practices
    A white male with more than 23 years’ service in die Department of Correctional Services applied for a promotional post, but was not shortlisted due to employment equity. The DCS alleged that the appointment of white males was not in line with their affirmative action targets. However, at the time of the shortlisting process the DCS did not have an approved affirmative action plan in place. The Commissioner of the CCMA made an award in Solidarity’s favour.

    It was ordered that the applicant receive compensation for the unfair discrimination to which he had been subjected.

    The DCS was also ordered to cease the application of unfair practices.
    SAPS settles out of court, members promoted
    Two captains (white males) and an adjutant officer (white female) were refused promotion on the basis of their race in terms of the SSSBC Agreement 2/2011. Solidarity and the SAPS settled the matter out of court and the three members were promoted.
  • 2014

    SAA members actually good enough, reappointed
    The applicants (two white males) applied for posts at the SAA’s technical division. Their applications were approved, but later cancelled due to affirmative action targets. The matter was settled in Solidarity’s favour and both applicants were re-appointed.
    Recommended for a position and still not considered
    A captain (white female) alleged that the SAPS had discriminated against her by not appointing her in a promotional post, in spite of the fact that she had been recommended for the same post twice and no other black candidate had been considered for the post. The Constitutional Court found in favour of the SAPS and alleged that there had not been an absolute obstacle in the career prospects of the applicant, as the SAPS did promote her on a subsequent occasion. The Supreme Court of Appeal’s verdict in favour of the applicant was therefore set aside by the Constitutional Court.
    SAPS acted unfairly against officer, he receives compensation and is reappointed
    A white officer (white male) who was employed in the SAPS’s Crime Intelligence Unit, was victimised when he acted as a whistle blower after he uncovered serious corruption and fraud within the unit and reported it. The SAPS transferred him out of the unit and in so doing prevented him from in any way following up the information and handing it over to the anti-corruption unit. The Labour Court found in Solidarity’s favour and found that the SAPS had acted unfairly against the officer.

    The applicant received compensation for the unfair labour practice committed against him and he was transferred to the internal audit division where he could continue his work.
    Employment equity targets undermine opportunities
    A white female who had been in the service of SARS for a considerable time, applied for a vacant promotional post. She was not appointed due to the employer’s affirmative action targets. The Labour Court found in favour of SARS and alleged that the applicant could not prove unfair discrimination.
    Out of court settlement, member appointed retroactively
    The applicant, a white male, on three occasions was the best candidate for a promotional post in the SAPS’s TMS division. The post was withdrawn numerous times due to the SAPS’s affirmative action targets and was never filled. Solidarity and the SAPS reached a settlement outside of court.

    The applicant was appointed in the vacant post retrospectively.

A year after Solidarity laid a charge on racial quotas against the South African government at the United Nations, the trade union now has to appear before the UN’s Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on 8 August 2016. In the same week, the South African government has to appear before the same committee. This is the first time since 1994 that the South African government is being charged with racial discrimination at the United Nations.

According to the Solidarity charge, the South African government has been contravening the UN convention prohibiting all forms of racial discrimination. The charge focuses on the state’s use of the national racial demography as a quota policy.

The focus is also on the government’s unwillingness to implement court judgments, which have already proved that the state is going too far with racial quotas.

The charge is in the form of a shadow report that is a response to the report the government submitted to the committee on progress made with eliminating racial discrimination.

The convention provides for civil organisations to charge a government by means of a shadow report that is submitted in response to the specific government's own report to the committee.

The core of the charge is that the South African government’s absolute focus on racial representivity is in conflict with the provisions of the convention. The state’s racial policy goes beyond internationally acceptable affirmative action and does not meet the international requirement of affirmative action any more.

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Click here to read more about Solidarity v the State at the United Nations

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