A Western Cape teacher is in trouble for self-classifying himself as ‘African’ when applying for a principal’s post in 2017. Glen Snyman is ‘officially’ a Coloured person.
Three years ago Snyman, a teacher at a primary school in Oudtshoorn, applied for a job as a principal, but stated he was African rather than Coloured on his CV. He did not get the job but late last month he was summoned for a disciplinary hearing by the provincial education department.
According to TimesLive the charge sheet says: ‘You committed a common law offence, to wit fraud, by stating on your CV when applying for the principal post at Fezekile Secondary School that you are an African male, whereas in truth your records indicate that you are a coloured male and by doing so gain an advantage for purposes of being shortlisted.’
Snyman has reportedly been campaigning against continued racial classification for some time and founded an organisation called People Against Race Classification. He believes the term ‘Coloured’ is demeaning and people should classify themselves as ‘South African’ rather than as one of the four race groups generally used in South Africa.
Yesterday, Debbie Schäfer, the MEC for education in the province released a statement regarding the incident. In it she said: ‘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. And we will not tolerate victimisation of people who do not conform to an artificial and arbitrary classification of who they are deemed to be.’
Subsequently it was reported that the Western Cape Education Department had dropped the charges against Snyman.