Glen Snyman, a teacher at Grootkraal Primary School in Oudtshoorn, was summoned to a disciplinary hearing. Picture: People Against Race Classification/via Facebook
Glen Snyman, a teacher at Grootkraal Primary School in Oudtshoorn, was summoned to a disciplinary hearing. Picture: People Against Race Classification/via Facebook

Charges withdrawn against Cape teacher for identifying as 'African' in CV

By Sisonke Mlamla Time of article published Oct 15, 2020

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Cape Town - The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) had to withdraw charges at a disciplinary hearing against a teacher who wrote “African” in his CV, instead of sticking with his “official” coloured identity.

This after Education MEC Debbie Schäfer, activists and other politicians reacted angrily when news surfaced that Glen Snyman, a teacher at Grootkraal Primary School in Oudtshoorn had been summoned to a disciplinary hearing by the department yesterday.

Snyman, an outspoken critic of race classification and founder of People Against Race Classification (Parc), allegedly identified himself as “African” when applying for the post of principal at another school in October 2017.

Late last month, almost three years later, he was summoned to a disciplinary hearing. Schäfer said she had only discovered on Tuesday that Snyman “has allegedly been charged with fraud for classifying himself as African on his CV”.

“One of the many evils of apartheid was the classification of people by their so-called race. This was what many people have fought to rid our country of,” she said.

“So I am understandably shocked to discover that my department is apparently charging someone because of how they choose to classify themselves.” She said if that was in fact the case, it was “anathema” to her, and said they would not tolerate victimisation of people who did not conform to an artificial and arbitrary classification of who they were deemed to be.

She said she asked for all the information regarding the case as a matter of urgency, because, on the face of it, it did not appear to be in line with what the administration stood for.

WCED spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said the charges had thus been withdrawn and they would engage with Snyman to enable them to accurately record his personal details as required.

Hammond said as national legislation required an employment equity score to be given to each candidate during the recruitment process, which was based on race and gender in order to meet employment equity targets, that information was required on job application forms.

She said Snyman had identified himself as “African” on his CV in applying for the position, but had otherwise indicated “coloured” on other applications and documents.

“The WCED was alerted to this discrepancy and he was subsequently charged as this could be considered fraudulent,” she said.

She said they had since been made aware that Snyman identified himself as “African”, and has been fighting against the current government’s race classification system for a number of years.

Hammond said it was an extremely personal and sensitive matter. “While we believe that we must continue to redress the injustices of the past, we have reviewed the case and believe it does not warrant further action.”

When the Cape Argus contacted Snyman, he said he was not allowed to talk to the media at this stage. “Maybe at some other time,” he said.

He later said while the matter had taken a serious toll on him emotionally, he wanted to first meet the WCED before commenting at length.

“Emotionally I am not doing well. It has been a difficult journey,” he said.

Progressive Organisation Formation interim secretary Brian Isaacs claimed that the WCED had never been non-racial. “It has always been racist, because it asks for people’s classification in the appointment of posts,” he said.

* Additional reporting by Francesca Villette.

Cape Argus

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