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High Court rules that Chinese persons qualify as Blacks for purposes of BBBEE and EE legislation

High Court rules that Chinese persons qualify as Blacks for purposes of BBBEE and EE legislation

Read the (1 page) judgment by clicking here:- 36853/2006 [2008] ZAGPHC 95
Moresport (Pty) Limited v Commissioner for the South African Revenue Service and Others

A few questions

  • Will the Department of Labour amend Forms EEA 1, EEA 2 and EEA 4 in time for the October submission deadline?
  • Does this ruling only apply to Chinese persons who were citizens of South Africa as at 27 April 1994 (See EE Regulations 1.5 "Designated Groups"?
  • How long will it take to amend all the relevant scorecards, charters etc to take into account the import of this ruling?
  • Can our skills shortages in fields such as IT etc now be easier to achieve?
  • With the influx of Chinese money and in light of this ruling, will we see more a greater demand for persons to become fluent in Mandarin? Is Mandarin not becoming an essential competency for business executives?


In a landmark ruling, the Pretoria High Court ruled yesterday that South Africa's 10 000-strong ethnic Chinese community be included in the definition of "black people" for purposes of black economic empowerment status. This follows a 2007 application brought against the minister of labour, the minister of trade and industry and the minister of justice by the Chinese Association of South Africa, a private organisation representing the interests of South Africans of Chinese descent. The government originally opposed the motion, but in April this year withdrew its intention to fight the case. - The Times website

South African court classifies Chinese as "black" - 18 June
South Africa's High Court has decided that the Chinese qualify as 'black people' for disadvantaged status that grants them privileged legal rights, SAPA news agency reported Wednesday. Judge Cynthia Pretorius ordered that the Chinese be included in the definition of black people under the Broad-Based Economic Empowerment Act and the Employment Equity Act that grant benefits to Africans, coloureds and Indians. - Monsters and Critics website

We agree that you are black, South African court tells Chinese - 19 June
They have already taken over much of the continent’s economy. Now they have gone one step farther. The Chinese in South Africa were officially declared "black" yesterday. In a landmark ruling the Pretoria High Court accepted the Chinese as a "previously disadvantaged" group. This means that – at least in legal terms – Chinese South Africans will now be included in the definition of black people in legislation covering lucrative black economic empowerment (BEE) deals. - Times Online [UK] website

Chinese say : we want to be black - 16 June
Buffalo City's Chinese community want to be considered black. Yesterday, they said they supported a move by the Chinese Association of South Africa to ask the courts to redefine them as "black people". If approved, the move will see them benefiting from BEE and employment equity laws designed to restore historical injustices of the past. The Sunday Times reported yesterday that the Chinese Association would on Wednesday ask the Pretoria High Court to include their members in the definition of "black people" in the Broad-Based Economic Empowerment Act and the Employment Equity Act."We would definitely support the move, as we were shunted from pillar to post in the past," East London's Chinese Association chairperson Soong-Fong Lee said. - Dispatch Online website

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Gary Watkins

Gary Watkins

Managing Director


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