Civil society organisation Cape Forum condemns the discriminatory criteria used by the Coca Cola Beverages SA company (CCBSA) in the allocation of bursaries for prospective students.

In the advertisement for the company’s StudyBuddy bursary scheme, it is stated that all matriculants who are defined as “black” in terms of the BBBEEE policies qualifies to apply. That means black African, Coloured and Indian.

However, an additional condition is included, stating that preference will be given to “black African” applicants.

Cape Forum, as a pressure group for the majority population group in the Western Cape, regards this as discriminatory against the Coloured community, but also against the country’s minority groups in general.

Cape Forum executive chairperson Heindrich Wyngaard says: “Education is the one area where no discrimination of any sort should be tolerated since every matriculant and student, regardless of their race, should be equipped to make a meaningful contribution to the much needed growth in our ailing economy.”

The organisation will request a meeting with CCBSA to discuss ways in which all applicants can be afforded a fair opportunity to qualify for a bursary from the company. It has also sought legal advice.

“Coke is a cold drink enjoyed daily by all communities in South Africa, black and white. That should mean that the company should exclude no matriculant from its bursary scheme,” according to Wyngaard. “They should rather play a unified role in the struggling process of building a coherent South African society.”

Cape Forum encourages the public to voice their disapproval of CCBSA’s handling of this matter, such as was done recently when the pharmacy group Dis-Chem blatantly discriminated against white employees.