MyNews24 is a user-generated section of The stories here come from users.

Comments: 0
Article views: 1045
Latest Badges:

View all GakwiMashego's badges.

Affirmative Action Needs a Deadline

16 June 2017, 18:15

I think Affirmative Action does need a deadline. It is unacceptable to be affirming people for the rest of their lives; especially if the affirmation is done by both the perpetrators of socio-economic injustice and the government of the day.

It can’t be that there should be people who benefited from the atrocities of the past regime but they are excluded from contributing to the affirmation of those they kept down and out for over 300 years. Those who benefited should feel responsible to address the inequalities inherited from the past. And those who benefited should not be begged to right the wrong but should come forward and suggest solutions.

Our white compatriots should not make a mistake of thinking that hiring people in farms and other labour spaces is an equivalent of reparations. Work is celebrated slavery and it should worry them that they seem to have a bigger muscle; after government of keeping people employed when they are such a minority. How did we arrive at a stage where a minority has the power to control the welfare of so many people? By honestly answering that question we can be able to agree on what cut-off date should Affirmative Action be abandoned.

However, much as the economic inequality today can be partly laid out at the door of government; we need to accept that the system of governance we have today is a product of a consensus. The negotiated settlement carved out with political parties is not what the majority of South Africans would under normal circumstances have settled for. What former liberation movements and tribal parties from Bantustans settled for was a sham deal not ratified by the people that the apartheid regime co-opted to negotiate with. The CODESA Agreement was never subjected to a Blacks-Only referendum to see if we agreed with its contents given that Nelson Mandela was an unelected leader when he entered into them. He was a leader of the African National Congress; not of Black people in their totality. So, that agreement is not as binding to all Black people as some people have come to believe. All white people should do is to look up the signature and designation of Mandela on that agreement and they will see in what capacity did he sign. The old man only carried the mandate of ANC members.

However when then President FW de Klerk wanted a mandate to negotiate South Africa’s transition he initiated a whites-only referendum to ask for permission to talk. He was overwhelmingly given by his electorate. It is a transparency Mandela was never granted. So, nothing agreed is binding to Black people but to ANC members. The only thing we can agree on is what was legislated after he was elected President of the country which is Affirmative Action and Black Economic Empowerment. I said Affirmative Action needs a deadline. True. When should that deadline be? It can’t be something that gets decided by the people who benefited from a racially divisive system that made the majority of them wealthy. That deadline should come from Black people.

Let us ask ourselves how long it took Germany to pay war reparations to the millions of Jews who were subjected to genocide, robbing of corpses and economic robbery in the 20th century? The 2nd World War ended in 1945, Israel was founded in 1948 and its industrialisation was largely funded by Germany as part of reparations. By the way Germany might have ceased to transfer millions of Euros annually to Israel but it continues to support it in various ways. It continues to serve as a guarantor of many political developments that Israel is involved in. It shares intelligence and technology of various kinds with Israel. All as part of the reparations package demanded in the 1950s. One of the few safest places for Jews to live in Europe is Germany. The Germans have accepted their culpability in the genocide of Jews, their economic subjugation and cultural genocide and they are affirming Jews at every opportunity they get.

Why is it that white people in South Africa, merely 23 years into our democracy have a problem with affirming Black people? What’s 23 years compared with more than a half century of German accountability? Currently white companies that used to assist apartheid South Africa to bust sanctions are refusing to reinvest billions of rands they made from our father’s sweat and opt to invest them overseas. When asked they talk about policy unpredictability. I am tempted to think that apartheid was so unpredictable that it made no sense to open even a mere firm. But they did; because they had faith in the racist regime that ruled then and they don’t have faith in the government leading today because it is black led.

Affirmative Action is not a new thing. Americans introduced it in the 1960s following pressure from the Civil Rights Movement to dismantle Jim Crow. It was introduced in the 1960s and it took over 30 years for the US to have a really Black public servant in the service of that country. General Colin Powell became the Joint Chief of Staff for the US Army, cracking a glass ceiling in the 1990s. He moved on to become the Secretary of State and later to be followed by Condoleeza Rice in the same position and finally Barak Obama as president. So it takes half a century for the US Affirmative Action to produce an affirmed leader and today we are being told that we have to end Affirmative Action even before the senior management posts and Executive management reflect that we have that policy in place? Why don’t we say we will end Affirmative Action the moment the top lever of corporate South Africa reflect the population dynamics? White people constitute six percent of the population; shouldn’t we say Affirmative Action will die when only six percent of managerial and executive posts are held by those who benefitted in the past and their brood?

This is what white people used to call Job Reservation. Every white person who served in the army, regardless of low education was guaranteed a job and a house under the apartheid regime. This was done regardless of Black people who equally served in the army. Two men served in the same army and at the end one is given a job and a house while the other is given a Passbook banishing him to a Bantustan. That was apartheid but the aim was to affirm white Afrikaners following the Second World War and what was called the Poor White Problem.

Apartheid leaders felt the need to affirm Afrikaners and that project went from 1948 to this day. Job Reservation for whites has not ended because it was protected in the Sunset Clauses whites negotiated with Mandela. But now Affirmative Action, a policy practised in many Western countries is being attacked in South Africa simply because it is being implemented by a Black government

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.


Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Taxis in SA: 'Crossing the street...

I filmed a taxi going through the red lights', 'Crossing the street has become a life threatening activity,' Wheels24 readers share their thoughts on mini-bus taxis. Read more...

0 comments 632 views
Submitted by
Graeme Long
The new battle lines of SA: Urban...

First it was British vs Boer, then black vs white, now it’s urban modernists vs rural African traditionalists.  Read more...

0 comments 1554 views
Submitted by
Sipho James Xesha
Initiation a sacred ritual

Speaking as umXhosa, the current (June) month is the season for orthodox spiritual orientation of the young Xhosa male. No other point in the celestial calendar marks this auspicious socio-spiritual occasion but this one. Read more...

0 comments 197 views
Submitted by
Khaya Tyatya
Transformation is an integral par...

The MTT would have failed in its task if it does not come up with a clearly articulated, practical and “unapologetic” human resource development plan that will fundamentally transform the university system in the next five years and beyond. Read more...

0 comments 277 views
Submitted by
Sane Sunyshine Sihiya
Mmusi Maimane: Do you have power?

I judged you. I felt, you were being silly! Cheese boy vibes. Those educated sounding blacks who speak English very well and sound absolutely smart at the expense of trading in their identity. Read more...

0 comments 295 views
Submitted by
Budiriro Peter Moyo
Hunting for radical economic tran...

It is one of the most famous statement of our current time in South Africa right now - Radical Economic Transformation (RET). Yet elusive to those that seek it. A political gimmick? What does it mean? Read more...

0 comments 184 views


E-mail Alerts The latest headlines in your inbox

RSS feeds News delivered really simply.

Mobile News24 on your mobile or PDA

E-mail Newsletters You choose what you want

News24 on Android Get the latest from News24 on your Android device.

SMS Alerts Get breaking news stories via SMS.

TV Get us in your home, on your television.

Interactive Advertising Bureau
© 2017 All rights reserved.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.