Johannesburg - A real solution for affirmative action must be sought through social dialogue and not the courts, the lobby group Solidarity said on Sunday.
"Solidarity is hopeful that the debate taking place in the courtrooms will spill over into a national debate that will lead to a new national consensus over affirmative action," general secretary Dirk Hermann said in a statement.
"The best place for such a debate is in Parliament. The government's approach has developed into a mathematical racial approach where people have been replaced with figures."
He said that approach had nothing to do with redressing past imbalances involving race.
Hermann said Solidarity had appealed to political parties to request a debate on affirmative action in Parliament after being told lobby groups could not request debates.
South Africans and prominent business people too easily accepted that the government's approach to affirmative action was the only approach, he said.
"What we need in South Africa is an all-out battle of ideas," he said.
"We call on academics, trade union, church and community leaders and particularly large employers in the business world to be critical of the government's affirmative action programme and to look for alternatives that work."
On Sunday, Solidarity said it would intensify its campaign against "race-firmative" action with a petition.
Hermann said the petition would show the African National Congress that a debate on the implementation of affirmative action was not just a "whim and a fancy".
"We will present the petitions to Parliament and repeat our request for a parliamentary debate on the issue," he said.
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