“A person never truly changes, who they are is just gradually revealed”
South Africa is enveloped by collective insanity. The evidence of our abject failings taunts us wherever we look. A few hardy souls resolutely remonstrate with us, trying vainly to enter logic and fact into evidence, but no-one wants to hear. Increasingly others have given up trying, packing their bags to start afresh in a saner world. Eventually we all become what Pink Floyd might have described as ‘uncomfortably numb’.
And then, for the briefest of moments, the sun breaks through the clouds to offer brilliant clarity, before the shadows return. These are the moments we must seize upon if we are to be saved.
Glen Snyman, a coloured citizen of the Western Cape, being charged with fraud for describing himself as ‘African’, is just such a moment.
Far too many hours on ‘Groundhog day’ Twitter mean I have been exposed to every convoluted justification for racial classification there is. Your chances are better of inducing a remorseful, tear filled confession out of Lucifer himself, than convincing the average South African that positive racial discrimination is a really bad idea for everyone. Not even 64% unemployment and a BEE billionaire president register on the scale.
Can forcing someone to explain how Glen Snyman is not African achieve what two decades worth of economic data could not? Glen Snyman’s case is the embodiment of all that is wrong with South Africa’s so-called ‘Transformational agenda’. Surely even its greatest fans, if just for a fleeting moment, can grasp that?
No-one willing to publicly justify fraud charges
The glare of the international media ensured that Glen’s charges were dropped within less than twenty-four hours, no-one was going to try and publicly justify them, but the system that charged him remains firmly intact. On the very day Glen’s charges were dropped, thousands of other life altering decisions throughout South Africa were determined primarily upon the basis of a person’s race.
The so-called ‘transformation agenda’ is a dark cloud that has corrupted our nation’s soul. Its motives are anything but pure, and never openly acknowledged. These motives are, of course, fully understood, but like a scene from a Harry Potter movie, they may not be spoken out loud. We need a Glen for us to even acknowledge they exist. That is why Glen Snyman’s case had to be settled so urgently. Hard truths must not linger in plain sight.
For absolute clarity, South Africa is a deeply unequal country, a country overrun with poverty and despair, and a country where your race, in many cases, determines the opportunities which are available to you. However, South Africa is also an incredibly blessed country possessing all the necessary ingredients to address those issues within a generation. Transformation, as South Africa practices it, isn’t the solution, it is the problem.
In South Africa, transformation is simply an alias for black African nationalism.
“We, the people of South Africa …….. believe that South Africa belongs to all who live in it”
Do we believe that? Of course we don’t - it is a bare faced lie! The average South African voter doesn’t believe it, the ruling party certainly doesn’t believe it. President Cyril Ramaphosa didn’t believe it when he spoke of ‘our people’ in parliament whilst referring to black South Africans. Julius Malema and Jacob Zuma didn’t mean it when they referred to ‘settlers’ and how our problems all started in 1652. Black twitter doesn’t believe it when, with monotonous regularity, it demands that white South Africans ‘go home’.
I can’t find the section in the constitution where it says ‘seniority will be awarded according to the date of your ancestors arrival’, but if I could, I’d be sending it to Glen Snyman. He’d probably find it quite beneficial. Ramaphosa, Malema, Zuma and co., perhaps not so much so.
Ideologically fair judgements no longer possible at the Constitutional Court
The ANC is sold on ‘transformation’, the EFF even more radically so. Mmusi Maimane quit the DA when his efforts to lead the party further down the transformation rabbit hole backfired, whilst Mashaba was seemingly converted to transformation once in coalition government with the EFF. Prof Koos Malan, professor of public law at the University of Pretoria, went on record to say that ideologically fair judgments are no longer possible at the constitutional court since it too has fully embraced the doctrine of ‘transformation’.
Coloured citizens, like Glen Snyman, suffer by far the most under the transformation agenda. Affirming Prof Malan’s position, the following quote from a minority judgement in the employment equity case against the Department of Corrections is chilling. In the constitutional court, Judge Nugent, supported by Judge Cameron, wrote:
“I see no rationality in restricting half the population of the Western Cape to 8.8% of the employment opportunities in that province”, then later, “in the Western Cape, 9 of each 100 opportunities are made accessible to some 2.8 million coloured people, while 1.9 million black people have access to 73.”
That this is irrational and unjust must surely be self-evident? That two lower courts found against the applicants before the case came before the Constitutional Court, and that this was a minority judgement, which by inference suggests 75% of the Con Court judges didn’t agree with it, is mind blowing.
This is exactly the issue championed by the Cape Coloured Congress and which causes both intense anger and racial resentment. Employment opportunities in coloured neighbourhoods being given predominantly to black job seekers.
South Africa has seen better than most the evil of racial classification. That we should then be hellbent on repeating it, submitting the likes of Glen Snyman to the denial of his heritage and his identity based solely upon the colour of his skin, is unacceptable.
DA complicit in charging Snyman
At its recent policy conference the DA announced its intention to renounce dealing with people on the basis of their race rather than their circumstance. It is therefore deeply ironic that Glen Snyman was discriminated against by the DA run Western Cape education department. If anyone doubts their complicity they must ask themselves how DA education MEC Debbie Schafer could have had the fraud charges dropped inside 24 hours if this was under ANC oversight?
In a tweet on the subject, DA head of policy Gwen Ngwenya, the author of the DA’s policy on non-racialism, confided that despite being black African, she randomly ticks racial classification boxes, hoping that she will be taken to court over the issue. This is very noble, but it isn’t nearly enough.
If the DA does not believe in racial classification, then where it governs, it shouldn’t implement it. Surely the DA can see for itself the injustice described in Judges Nugent and Cameron’s statements? The DA must do more than sweep Glen Snyman’s charges under the carpet and observe Gwen Ngwenya randomly ticking boxes. They must make a stand.
People need more than lip service from the DA
I would like to see them out-rightly defy the government on this issue and force a constitutional crisis. If they don’t have the courage to do that, then they must implement a ‘work to rule’ and encourage all Western Cape citizens to tick ‘(black) African’ on the racial classification boxes whenever they are called upon to express their race, thus rendering the system dysfunctional. They might want to conduct an audit of Western Cape government employees, and in doing so determine that they are all African. Thereafter they must employ on merit and encourage businesses operating in the province to do the same.
The DA led Western Cape has blindly implemented national government policy which neither the DA, nor the electorate who appointed them, agree with. A national government the people of the Western Cape are adamant they don’t want, and which they have done all they can to rid themselves of. That must change. The Western Cape DA led provincial government must be more than just administratively efficient, it must serve the electorate who appointed them. That includes making a stand on matters of great principle.
As a group pursuing Cape independence and working on the ground in the Western Cape, we can tell you first hand that the level of anger is palpable and people are turning against the DA. Increasingly the DA is seen as a party serving the interests of the rest of South Africa at the expense of the people of the Western Cape. Multiple surveys have confirmed that the Western Cape wants non-racialism. The DA now says it does too, but people will need to see more than just lip service. There are thousands of Glen Snyman’s out there who haven’t yet fallen under the spotlight of the media. Who is going to stand up for them?
If the DA wants to keep on governing the Western Cape they would do well to read Aesop’s fable, ``The Dog and its Reflection”.
This article was first published in the Daily Friend