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Affirmative action laws are unconstitutional, Solidarity argues in court

The court on Wednesday heard a case between trade union Solidarity and the Department of Labour relating to affirmative action.

Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - The Labour Court has heard that the act dealing with affirmative action is unconstitutional in its current form.

The court on Wednesday heard a case between trade union Solidarity and the Department of Labour relating to affirmative action. Solidarity argued against companies using percentages for the application of affirmative action.

The union wants the Labour Court to make sure that government implements the recommendations of the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC).

The SAHRC said some parts of the Employment Equity Act did not comply with the Constitution and international law.

Solidarity’s lawyer Garth Hulley said: “But what your Lordship is not being asked to do is to make the order as contemplated in Section 172 to end, but your Lordship is rather being asked to enforce that recommendation.”

However, the Department of Labour’s counsel Thembeka Ngcukaitobi said the SAHRC’s findings were not binding.

“It must be dismissed because that means the case is a null case about the legal effect of the SAHRC’s findings,” he said.

“The narrow point about the binding effect of the SAHRC finding, we submit with respect that the law is clear,” Ngcukaitobi added.

But, Solidary contended that the use of colour when applying affirmative action led to racial quotas and, therefore, wanted the court to declare this illegal.

Judgement was expected to be delivered in three weeks’ time.