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Johannesburg - The South African National Blood Service has reached a settlement with two of its employees who accused the service of racial discrimination based on employment policies.
This means that Theodore Reyneke, 53, and Sanet Schonfeldt, 42, and all the blood service’s white employees can now apply for any job advertised within the company without fear of exclusion because of their race.
However, their applications for any vacancy will still be considered with reference to the service’s employment equity plan.
Speaking on their behalf, Solidarity’s Dirk Hermann said the court action was not a vendetta against the employer, but that Reyneke and Schonfeldt, with 28 and 24 years’ experience respectively, wanted only fairness.
“They never said anything negative about their employer and it was difficult for them to start the court action because they have been working for a long time there and are loyal to their employer.
“They are relieved and satisfied with the outcome because they see it as a positive step towards justice.
“It was demotivating for them when they could not apply (for posts) as they were discriminated (against) based on their skin colour and it’s not something they have control over,” Hermann added.
The controversy arose out of an SANBS space creation strategy that offered voluntary severance packages to white employees in middle and senior management levels over the age of 55, creating 14 jobs.
In its court documents, the blood service said the strategy was implemented after an analysis showed there was an under-representation of black employees at senior, middle and supervisory level while there was an over-representation of white females in the organisation.
In its documents, Solidarity claimed the posts were reserved for affirmative action candidates. It believed that in excluding whites from applying for the posts, Reyneke and Schonfeldt were unfairly discriminated against on the basis of race.