We have to stress from the beginning as many people have complained on Facebook on a post. The card is not used for access to any secure estate or any part of the town. If someone wants to work in that area they have to present a card and if they don’t have one the police will be called. That process on it’s own is seen a violation of basic human rights. Below is a bit of history and details of the implementation of the “Green Card” to try give a better understanding.
A bit of history on the Dompas:
The “dompas” came into existence with the Natives Act of 1952 – what was at the time known as the ‘Pass Laws Act’. The act made it compulsory for black South Africans over the age of 16 to carry a “pass book” whenever they are in areas declared as ‘white areas’ where white people lived. It could be seen as a passport to travel between areas within South Africa and contained details such as their bearer’s fingerprints, his or her photograph, the name of his/her employer, his/her address, how long the bearer had been employed, as well as other identification information.
The ‘dompas’ – as it was commonly referred to – documented permission requested and denied or granted to be in a certain region and the reason for being there. The law remained in existence until 1986 and during its 34 year existence, more than 8 million black men and women were jailed for not carrying it of contraventions related to carrying the dompas.
The Green Card in Worcester;
Now the Daily Voice tabloid reports the modern dompas in Worcester gives domestic workers and gardeners access to posh areas in the Boland town, like Meiringspark, Roux Park and Panorama.
The rag quotes gardener Norman Jooste who says he will be applying for a card soon to make his life easier. “Most gardeners want a card because residents don’t trust you if you don’t have one. I haven’t been asked by police for a green card, but where I went to ask by white people for work, they asked for it and if you don’t have it, they call the police.”
But some people say this violates poor people’s human rights. One of them is community leader Rodney Visagie: “It might be a safety measure [for the rich] but it shouldn’t interfere with people’s freedom… Those are municipal areas, not a security complex. It reminds me of the dompas system.”
Some think it’s a good system. If gardeners or domestic workers are looking for odd jobs, all they need to do is produce the card at the door, and the people will know they are trustworthy. It helps to get work.
Issued by the community policy, the ID cards are issued as a method to combat crime and Riebeeck Park resident love it. Supporters say it is not issued to control people’s movements but to identify trustworthy workers as it is only issued after a background check of former work performance has been done.
The Department of Community Safety has launched an investigation into the practice after several complaints have been received.