Equality in a democracy Anele Mngadi

2016-08-03 06:00
Anele Mngadi

Anele Mngadi

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THE term “democracy” is broad, no one explanation can fully discuss what a democracy is, however, the most basic underlying idea of democracy is equality, but equality within its own context is an ambiguous term in this case. Does democracy offer equality of opportunity or equality of outcome? Should the South African democracy provide equality of opportunity or equality of outcome?

The difference between the two is simple, equality of opportunity is when we enter a competition we are asked the same question and given the same amount of time to answer (seems fair, right?)

The problem is that we speak different languages and we are asked in a language that favours one person and we don’t understand, but we are expected to answer in the same amount of time as the home language speaker, that’s equality of outcome – that expectation that we all answer a question we cannot understand (which is what is happening in the education system, but this is not the focus point today).

The focus for today will be how democracy, which is supposed to provide equality in society, has created its own inequalities. After 22 years of democracy I think it is only now we realise that maybe democracy wasn’t the way to go.

The issue with democracy is that it favours the favoured (capitalism), which generally means that those who were favoured by the economic system remain favourable and it has also created a few black elites. However, democracy has not done justice for the majority of South Africans who are born and raised in poverty and are competing with the minority of South Africans who had a bit of a head start in the competition, competing for the same job, the same seat at university and even for funding from NSFAS as we fail to gather documents that prove our poverty. Modern democracy lacks elements of restorative justice, elements of restoring human dignity and only then can we start discussing issues of equality.

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