Teacher charged over ‘African’ claims on CV picking up pieces of ’difficult journey’
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Cape Town – An Oudtshoorn teacher accused of fraudulently representing the colour of his skin on his CV has been left to pick up the emotional pieces of his ordeal over which his livelihood was in jeopardy.
Glen Snyman, a teacher at Grootkraal Primary School in the Karoo region, was charged with fraud after he, in 2017, allegedly identified himself as “African” on his CV for a position at another school, but had indicated “coloured” on other documents.
Western Cape Education Department ( WCED) spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said that the department had been alerted to the discrepancy and Snyman was subsequently charged with fraud.
Snyman was yesterday expected to attend a disciplinary hearing, but after hearing about the case, Education MEC Debbie Schäfer ordered a probe into the circumstances and found that Snyman has been identifying as “African” for years, which “is extremely personal and sensitive”.
The charge has since been dropped. An emotional Snyman said yesterday that 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.
Snyman has been challenging the government’s race classification system for more than a decade, and also founded the civil organisation People Against Race Classification.
The group opposes the official referencing and classification of the South Africans population in terms of “black”, “coloured”, “Indian” and “white”, and “encourages non-racism among all people.
On their website, the group says: “As a protest against race classification criteria, we ask you to tick the ‘ Black African’ block on all forms that require it.”
South Africa’s Equity Employment Act was borne from the recognition that, as a result of apartheid and other discriminatory laws and practices, there are disparities in employment, occupation and incomes within the labour market.
The act is in place, among others, to ensure the implementation of employment equity to redress the effects of discrimation and to promote economic development.
Hammond said they would engage with Snyman to enable them to accurately record his personal details.
“As national legislation requires an employment equity score to be given to each candidate during the recruitment process, which is based on race and gender in order to meet employment equity targets, this information is required on job application forms.
“We have since been made aware that Mr Snyman identifies himself as ‘African’ and has been fighting the current government’s race classification system for a number of years.
“This is extremely personal and sensitive. 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.
“It has, however, raised a number of issues with regards to race classification and identity that will require deeper discussion and reflection,” Hammond said.
The Department of Employment and Labour’s spokesperson in the Western Cape, Candice van Reenen, said: “The department has been alerted to the matter.
“We encourage the Western Cape Education Department to initiate its internal processes as alluded to by the MEC.”