Politics is a dirty game, we all know that but I had to laugh at some the too and fro from the recent launch of the #KnowyourDA campaign. From just hopelessly incorrect statements (like the DA merged with the NP .. in reality the ANC) to every argument under the sun about everything except the giant elephant in the room. Dumbo is unseen and unheard because admitting it’s there will force a truly honest conversation on the topic, expose the glaring contradictions which is inhibiting many sphere’s of South African progress.
First some declaimers; firstly if you support or oppose AA then you are not automatically a bad, racist or extreme person. Calling for the equal treatment of everyone under the law is not controversial or racist. Everyone wants to see major improvements, empowerment and emancipation of all people from poverty because it benefits everyone.
I believe that AA falls down completely on the following grounds:
2. Moral reasoning
3. Race categorisation
5. Alternative approaches
.1. Constitutionality - firstly it’s in flagrant violation of the bill of rights in the constitution which is the supreme law of the land. ie: Everyone is treated equally under the law. It’s simply not and white males are the only demographic which you are legally allowed , actively promoted and rewarded to discriminate against as well as penalised for not discriminating against. But the counter would be, we have a clause for fair discrimination?
2. Moral reasoning - What is a ‘fair’ discrimination? Does this discrimination undermine a fundamental pillar of the constitution and as such pose a risk to its validity? If you can undermine a fundamental right like equal treatment under the law then what use is the document? It also fails the golden rule, if you didn’t believe that discrimination based on race through categorisation and legislation was right or fair in the past then why would you support it now without being in full acknowledgement of that hypocrisy.
3. Race categorisation- another adoption of Apartheid policies and probably the most glaring inconsistency is the concept of race categorisation. Is there a pure black? Pure white? Mixed ? What exactly is the legislative measure of what a black or white person is? As far as can be determined its merely a self appointed categorisation, which begs the question of how any ‘scorecard’ or measurement can take place without asking each individual to self categorise (and except that self determination) which makes the whole exercise absurd . Just try parallel this to gender identification.
4. Efficacy – are these laws doing what they were intended? At what cost? There is almost universal disagreement on this and particularly in places where this law was designed as protection for monitories. With uncertainty of outcome, the question must be whether undermining the fundamental rights of millions for questionable results is a good idea. Then there is the effect on the black population itself, what is the inequality measure since the laws were adopted within the black demographic itself? Is the mean levels of poverty in the black population actually increasing or deceasing? The only basis for comparison ever given is against the white population, which unless you do implement oppressive legislation and exclusion is going to produce favourable results for that legislation .ie: the results are on the basis of performance of the white population rather than the black population. The black population could be getting poorer but as long as the white people are doing worse the results will point to successful implementation of that legislation.
5. Alternative approaches- Firstly, how many other approaches have been publicly advocated? Has AA just been a copy paste exercise from other parts of the world designed for different societal conditions? How about spending the billions that is used for AA/EE BEE lawyers , legislation and enforcement into practical means of Black economic empowerment , like funding for black entrepreneurs , specialised skills development , rural development , land reform , agri-skills development and transference , agricultural subsidies as well as any other targeted govt support initiatives. SA is on board with black economic empowerment so a societal climate where this is encouraged and not legislated to the extent of exclusion which creates division, opposition without stigma is very possible with good leadership and communication.
So the DA is being attacked for sort of catching on to this hypocrisy by people (see: Esethu Hasane) , who uses hyperbole , straw man and ‘stats’ to affirm his narrative. Let me start by explaining some rationale , when you support BEE but implement Diverse economic empowerment it means that you support the concept of BEE but implement diverse empowerment strategy is so that no-one is ‘left-behind’ (Yes, many people inside and out of the ‘white’ race do not have stereotypical advantages). Maybe moving from concept (abstract) to practicality is a tough hurdle but one would assume that creating opportunity to all who need it while still acknowledging the primary concern of black empowerment that is both more in line with the constitution, and the principle of poverty alleviation would be a fresh view on the subject but in his mind it’s trying trick black people. He then attacks the ‘BEE that creates jobs not billionaires’ line, well it’s another illustration of not really being interested in principled outcomes but just that race based discrimination and exclusion is the answer because one black billionaire is a better indicator of black economic improvement than improving the unemployment rate and as such providing a living for the families of those employed. Then he employs some (only against whites) stats, like “Black South Africans directly own less than 10% of the JSE “ . Ok how is this accurately known because the JSE doesn’t track race on its accounts of which ownership changes hands into the 10’s of billions everyday as well as carefully navigating or conveniently omitting that the biggest investor on the JSE is the PIC. (See link) . Question is whether ‘KonwyourDA regards blacks as stupid’ or is Esethu projecting this belief? Protecting race based discrimination? Maybe it’s a belief in the myth that one persons success only comes at the expense of another’s? Who knows but he clearly does support oppressive legislation which creates unequal rights under the law based on race and gender against a minority as a means of empowering a majority.
Let me conclude, there is a lot more that can be said about the topic but a few questions must be asked:
Is race based legislation which is by definition oppressive and exclusionary, the answer to black economic empowerment? (does whipping the blue kid in class make the red one do better ?)
Does it contradict and undermine the constitution (ie: our collective value set)?
Is the legislation working and what are its effects?
Is fighting racism (under the assumption that racism is the primary reason for black poverty) via force or reason is the solution?
It’s important because the constitution is important; if you cannot rely on the constitution and legal system to protect your rights then there is no reason buy into the document at all. If this is the case then why would you expect anyone to go along with this? (While demonising them). I write this not in the interests of protecting ‘white privilege’ (whatever that is) or a status-quo which ended 2 decades ago but because I believe in the affirmative , that all should be treated equally under the law and that oppression only breeds discontent and conflict . That our values should not be undermined by what’s politically expedient or the vested interests of the race industry which relies on the continuing divisions. Hopefully I've given you something to think about and I encourage everyone to read through the constitution (see link).
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