Holiday fight on cards
Members of the African Christian Democratic Party have vowed to take to toyi-toying in the streets to protect religious holidays.
They had to be reassured that the hearings into the possibility of a review of public holidays being undertaken was not an "attack" on their religion.
"Moenie worrie nie," [Don't worry]," Pheagane Moreroa, CEO of the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities told the leader of the ACDP in Western Cape, Ferlon Christians, in Cape Town yesterday.
"This is not about attacking Christianity," he said.
There are 12 holidays on the South African calendar and Moreroa said the commission had received many complaints that there was a bias favouring Christianity.
"The ACDP will fight any attempt to change or remove Christmas or Good Friday," Christians said.
"Even if we have to take our fight to the streets, even if we need to toyi-toyi, march."
Moreroa said the hearings were about nationbuilding and strengthening social cohesion.
The commission will hold hearings in five more provinces before presenting a report to the Presidency and parliament by October.
Ganief Hendricks, leader of the Al Jama-ah political party, took a swipe at the commission.
He said that when the Public Holidays Act was debated in 1994, 20 groups were identified as "clamouring" for recognition of their cultural and religious holidays.
"The way out was to make provisions in the [act] for those communities to exchange the official public holidays, that they do not embrace, with holidays dear to their hearts," said Hendricks.
And, he said, the Employment Equity Act makes provision for employers to consult employees on making use of the act.
He said the commission was not doing its job and should have promoted existing legislation instead of embarking on public hearings.
Moreroa said that while it was impossible to make everyone happy, it was important to hear what people had to say.
It was, he said, crucial to find out exactly "how big this national outcry" regarding our public holidays was.