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Affirmative action case to be heard in Concourt

10 Correctional Services workers are taking on their employers, with police & the labour dept weighing in.

FILE: The Constitutional Court will this morning hear arguments around whether affirmative action policies must use regional or national demographics. Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - The Constitutional Court will this morning hear arguments around whether affirmative action policies must use regional or national demographics, and whether they can use numerical quotas of people from different race groups.

The case sees 10 Correctional Services workers taking on their employers, with the police and the Labour Department weighing in.

This case goes to the heart of legal questions around affirmative action, and whether it would be fair for a national government department to say that only a small percent of its workers in the Western Cape could be coloured, because it was going to use national demographics.

Judges also have to decide whether this plan amounted to employers actually setting a numerical quota, which is illegal under the Constitution, and whether employers must use the concepts of fairness and proportionality as well.

And they may also have to deal with questions about whether coloured people suffered less than black people during apartheid.

Trade union Solidarity says Correctional Services has implemented its plan unconstitutionally, and thus it must be annulled, but the department says it must continue to implement its plan, under the Employment Equity Act.