South Africa white police allege discrimination
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - A predominately white South African trade union accused the government Thursday of putting racial job quotas ahead of fighting crime.
The Solidarity union has filed applications in the Labor Court in Johannesburg contesting appointment and promotion policies in the police force and prison service saying whites are suffering from racial discrimination.
South Africa has one of the highest levels of violent crime in the world with at least 50 murders a day. Some commentators say insufficient resources and a lack of personnel impede the police force's ability to do its job.
Solidarity Secretary-General Dirk Hermann said the South African Police Services (SAPS) were more concerned with meeting affirmative action quotas established to address the wrongs of apartheid than filling vacant positions with competent officers.
"There is currently a practice in the SAPS, for the sake of the ideology of representation, to rather leave posts vacant or scrap them instead of appointing experienced white police members in the posts," he said at a news conference.
"Representation has become the most important driver for the SAPS, instead of pursuing their main objective, namely to protect all South Africans."
Nine cases have been filed against the SAPS and one against the prison service alleging white Solidarity union members were being denied promotion or not being re-hired because of the color of their skin.
The SAPS could not be reached for comment.
White minority rule came to an end in South Africa in 1994 but its legacy can still be seen, with whites continuing to occupy a disproportionately large number of senior positions in government and the private sector.
Although blacks now make up a majority of the police force, reflecting their 80 percent proportion of the overall population, a 2005 study showed that blacks only made up 44 percent of senior officers.
(Reporting by Peroshni Govender; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)
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