Government spokesperson Jimmy Manyi was under fire on Thursday for saying that the Western Cape has too many coloured people.
Manyi made the comments on a show broadcast on KykNet’s Robinson Regstreeks show in March 2010, while he was still the director general of labour.
The remarks come days after the union Solidarity was criticised for pointing out that around one million coloured people stood to lose their jobs if amendments to the Employment Equity Act (EEA) became law.
“Let me just make some few comments here on the last discussion on coloured people,” Manyi said in the interview with host Freek Robinson.
“I think its very important for coloured people in this country to understand that South Africa belongs to them in totality, not just the Western Cape.
“So this over-concentration of coloureds in the Western Cape is not working for them.
“They should spread in the rest of the country … so they must stop this over-concentration situation because they are in over-supply where they are so you must look into the country and see where you can meet the supply.
“This Employment Equity Act (EEA) is a very good act in this country,” he said.
Manyi could not be reached for comment, despite repeated attempts by the South African Press Association.
According to the Western Cape’s current demographics, 29,1% are black, 54,8% are coloured, 0,5% Indian and 15,6% white.
In the interview, he said the rest of the country should be looked at to see where there was a demand for coloured workers.
Solidarity said that unless the government repudiated Manyi’s statements and withdrew the proposed amendment to labour legislation, the remarks would continue to be regarded as the government’s official standpoint.
“The proposed change to the EEA, in terms of which national demographics and not regional demographics in provinces must be taken into account, corresponds with Manyi’s views,” the union said.
“The amendment makes provision for a large-scale social engineering programme according to which the entire country must be an exact replica of the national demographics.”