A coloured Oudtshoorn teacher was summoned to a disciplinary hearing for claiming on his CV to be African.
The department expected the man to stick to his coloured identity rather than identifying himself as black.
Glen Snyman was initially charged with fraud for misrepresenting himself as an ‘African male’ other than sticking to his coloured identity to secure a job vacancy.
Incidentally, the accused is an anti-race discrimination activist having founded a lobby group called People Against Race Classification.
The charges have since been withdrawn according to a statement by Western Cape education department spokesperson Bronagh Hammond.
The news of the classification debacle reached senior officials including Western Cape education MEC Debbie Schäfer.
He said he will not tolerate victimisation of people who do not conform to classification.
“I have learnt only today of a WCED teacher who 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. So I am understandably shocked to discover that my department is apparently charging someone because of how they choose to classify themselves.
“If this is in fact the case, it is anathema to me. We will not tolerate victimisation of people who do not conform to an artificial and arbitrary classification of who they are deemed to be.
“I have asked for all the information regarding this case as a matter of urgency because, on the face of it, it does not appear to be in line with what this administration stands for,” Schäfer said.
The EFF waded into the controversy and warned the department to stop disciplinary proceedings against the teacher.
The forceful political party reminded the department about Snyman’s right to identify himself as African if he wants to without being questioned.
“We would like to remind you of the fact that under the laws of the Republic of South African, Mr Snyman has the Right to identify himself as African if he feels uncomfortable with being identified as coloured,” said EFF provincial chairperson Melikhaya Xego.