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South Africa’s “Westernised” calendar does not please everyone, the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL) heard on Thursday.
“We cannot as Africans live (according to) a Westernised calendar. We must get our own, such as the Chinese, who have their own,” a member of the public told a CRL hearing in Bloemfontein.
The meeting was to hear input on the revision of public holidays in South Africa.
The CRL commission would sit in Bethlehem on Friday.
Representatives of various religions and cultural communities attended the workshop at the Bram Fischer building in Bloemfontein.
Delegates said the Christmas and New Year public holidays only benefited Christians, and had been written into law through the Public Holidays Act.
“They (Christians) stay at home and relax. They do not lose money,” said a delegate.
The commission heard that followers of other religions had to take leave for their own religious holidays.
Members of the Basotho, Khoi-Khoi and Khoi-San said they would also like to have national days on South Africa’s calendar.
CRL chief executive officer Pheagane Moreroa said many delegates were not comfortable with a calendar being imposed on them. He said the idea was not to have 365 public holidays for the country.
“We cannot allow that everything becomes a public holiday, because we would never work, but this is about minority rights and their rights must be protected.”
Moreroa said the commission was trying to help minority religious groups.
“Remember we are trying to build a nation, we are trying to create social coherence and we are trying to create peace.”
Moreroa sought to assure the gathering that the commission was looking for results, so the rights of minority religious groups could be recognised. - Sapa