Earlier this week the Government Employees Medical Scheme (GEMS) lost an urgent legal bid to interdict the release of an interim report (authored by a panel headed by Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi) on allegations that medical schemes are racially profiling black, coloured and Indian medical practitioners and that they are therefore unfairly racially discriminating against such practitioners. Predictably, many racial discrimination denialists have questioned the legitimacy of these findings, often displaying a profound ignorance of South African discrimination law in the process.

“Discrimination” – much like “freedom of expression” – is a commonly used, but much misunderstood, term. Everybody thinks they know what discrimination means and how the law regulates it, while only a few ever take the trouble to read the relevant legal texts. No wonder then that so many people have no clue what the prohibition of unfair discrimination in section 9(3) of the Constitution (and a similar prohibition in the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act (PEPUDA)) actually entails. No wonder, also, that many people confidently (but wrongly) claim that redress policies are always discriminatory and amount to “reverse discrimination”. (more…)


Quote of the week

Trump’s electoral fiction floats free of verifiable reality. It is defended not so much by facts as by claims that someone else has made some claims. The sensibility is that something must be wrong because I feel it to be wrong, and I know others feel the same way. When political leaders such as Ted Cruz or Jim Jordan spoke like this, what they meant was: You believe my lies, which compels me to repeat them. Social media provides an infinity of apparent evidence for any conviction, especially one seemingly held by a president.

Timothy Snyder
The New York Times
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