In a sudden development, the BP Express situated on Eisleben Street in Lentegeur, Mitchells Plain, was forcefully closed down by protesters spearheaded by the president of the National Coloured Congress (NCC), Fadiel Adams. The demonstrators voiced their concerns, emphasizing that the establishment failed to employ individuals from the local “coloured” community, a term used in South Africa to describe people of mixed race.
Residents barricaded the entrances and exits to the petrol station, prompting the police to respond to the escalating situation.
“No Coloureds, No Trading”
During a live broadcast on his Facebook page, Adams articulated the group’s resolution to enforce ‘coloured compliance’ amongst local businesses. He stated:
“If coloured don’t work. You don’t trade. Look. It’s cold. We really don’t want to be here, but they have declared war on our people, and wars are fought in all weather.”
Adams emphasized that their movement was not criminal but a call for opportunities for their children to have a future devoid of criminal activities. He insisted that businesses should adhere to the Employment Equity Act, failing which they would face shutdowns. Despite threats of arrest, Adams affirmed their readiness to face imprisonment for their cause.
Community Leaders Express Support
Harold De Lili, the chairman of a community organisation, expressed his support for the NCC’s actions, highlighting the pressing issue of drug addiction among the youth due to unemployment. Another protester echoed these sentiments, noting their patronage to the petrol station and the establishment’s failure to offer them employment opportunities:
“If you not going to employ us, we will not support you.”
Adams warned that this protest was not a one-off event and urged businesses across the Western Cape to comply with their demands for ‘coloured compliance’, hinting at further actions to ensure adherence.
A Step Towards Agreement
In a follow-up update on his Facebook page, Adams conveyed a positive outcome from his discussion with the BP Express owner, announcing:
“I’ve got a very short update for you. Small victory. BP Express Eisleben, Mitchells Plain are in full agreement with 50% coloured representation,”
This development comes shortly after the Department of Employment and Labour, in collaboration with the CCMA, concluded its National Employment Equity Roadshow in Cape Town, advocating for sector-specific Employment Equity (EE) targets to facilitate fair representation for the majority population.
The Cape Times recently highlighted remarks by the Commission for Employment Equity (CEE) chairperson, Tabea Kabinde, expressing discontent over the underrepresentation of the coloured community in various employment sectors in the Western Cape, despite being the majority population in the region. Kabinde emphasized the necessity for sector-specific EE numerical targets to ensure equal representation in all employment sectors in the province, citing the current disproportionate representation in top and senior management positions.