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Request for comments on South African public holidays

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba has asked the Bishops of the Province for inputs on a discussion paper issued by South Africa's Law Reform Commission (SALRC) on the treatment of public holidays.

He is now also asking all Anglicans for their views, which he would value with a view to presenting the commission with a combined Anglican opinion.

He has asked for a submission to be prepared on the statement which follows. Please email responses to the following address by May 17: peoadmin@anglicanchurchsa.org.za

Excerpt from page 56 of SALRC paper:

Full discussion paper can be found here:
http://www.justice.gov.za/salrc/dpapers/dp133.pdf


(a) Public Holidays Act 36 of 1994.

2.153

The main purpose of the Public Holidays Act, 1994 (Act No.36 of 1994) is to make provision for a new calendar of public holidays and to provide that public holidays are paid holidays.

2.154

Section 2 of the Public Holidays Act declares the days mentioned in Schedule 1 as public holidays and Good Friday and Christmas Day are days observed by Christians. The declaration of the two main Christian holidays as paid public holidays sets about creating a differentiation between those who practice Christianity and those who practice other religious faiths in the country whose faith-based occasions are not included in the holidays. This provision is a violation of section 9(3) of the Constitution and amounts to direct discrimination on the basis of religion and belief. There is an element of prejudicial treatment in that the two main Christian holidays are declared as paid public holidays and adherents of other religions who celebrate other faith based holidays are disadvantaged in that their holidays are not declared public holidays and they do not have an automatic benefit of pay on those days. This section should be reviewed. It is suggested that either these holidays be reviewed or that equal weight be given to holidays of other faiths.

2.155 In its comment to the SALRC‘s Consultation Paper the DHA [Department of Home Affairs] pointed out that research was conducted in this regard and in all countries there is no balance between different faith groups. The Public Holidays Act was enacted after public participation process. DHA has, following the complaint by the Commission responsible for, amongst others, religious matters, requested the Commission to investigate and consult the public widely on the matter and provide recommendations for consideration. Therefore, until such process is concluded, DHA will not consider any substantive amendments to the Public Holidays Act.

Posted: 2015/05/03 (11:09:43 AM)


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