Defining Chinese as black 'irrational, inexplicable'

Black business and professional organisations yesterday rejected the Pretoria high court's ruling defining Chinese South Africans as black people.

Black business and professional organisations yesterday rejected the Pretoria high court's ruling defining Chinese South Africans as black people.

"This judgment . revises a long-held historical view of the democratic struggle in South Africa," National African Federated Chambers of Commerce president Buhle Mthethwa said.

The ruling defined Chinese South Africans as "coloured" to qualify as beneficiaries under the Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) Act and the Employment Equity Act.

Economic empowerment did not address all forms of discrimination but sought to identify those who had suffered the most under the apartheid regime, Mthethwa said.

The identification of major beneficiaries was based on a sophisticated socio-economic analysis that took into consideration issues such as poor access to quality education, lack of economic access and poor living conditions.

"The economic transformation efforts sought to deal with the primary defining force of apartheid discrimination, which expressed itself through the socio-economic oppression of Africans, Indians and coloureds, hence their over-representation and visibility in the anti-apartheid struggle," he said.

"We are also disappointed in our government's failure to consult major stakeholders on this history-defining court case.

"It is our view that the responsibility of clarifying legislative and policy ambiguities rests with the legislative or executive arms of government."

"We call on the government to appeal this irrational decision. We furthermore call on political parties, principally majority black parties, to reject this inexplicable decision," he said.

"We see the judgment as a disappointing revision of the struggle for economic emancipation in South Africa." - Sapa

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