Friday, 14 September 2007

Afirmative action

Over the last few weeks the mainstream media have tried so hard to demonized Jimmy Manyi the chairperson of Equity Commission over the white women getting preferential treatment as opposed to black women. Well I am not that convinced even though so many people including the reserve Bank governor, Mamphele Ramphele, the labour minister and most successful women black and white think that is the case.

Everyone says Manyi said that the government must put a stop to white women affirmation but I am yet to hear Manyi say that, that is beside the point, if whites who constitute less than 13% of the economically active population occupy 75% of top management there is something wrong with us as a nation. I know of so many white that I talk to who would love to see the back of BEE now whilst they are still on top and blacks still suffering. They talk of apartheid in reverse but if you can ask the beneficiaries of apartheid as to what have they contributed into up lifting the previously disadvantaged and by so doing fast tracking BEE? The answer is nothing but what they have doing everything possible to frustrate it’s processes.

People who benefit from the BEE are those people in Private sector companies who happen to be white and male. If I had a better plan I would suggest the end to current BBBEE (Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment) because it doesn’t look like it was designed to benefit the poor just like the original like BEE. I think Affirmative action and BEE/BBBEE must have clear targets when those and we all make sure we all strive for that. When we are done they must be scraped.

Are we going to have these BEE/BBBEE Affirmative actions forever? Jimmy Many says they have reached the Target for white women… what is wrong? All of a sudden Solidarity and Afriforum and their quite supporter find themselves having to come out of victim hood and be as convincing possible that this is not true according to their studies. Is it not amazing how blacks and whites come up with different results whenever they have disagreements?

This time around there is not much disagreement according to race. Why is everyone forgetting that white women who were not working were not starving like women in SOWETO because they were privileged they were benefiting from apartheid. They were matrons in hospital because they were white. There was no apartheid law that prevented the women from working or to works to attend plush schools unless that woman is black..

We all know private sector companies are in the business of making money if they can score point by appointing white Meisi at the expense of a black woman they will keep on doing that and UPE, Tuks UCT and the all former white only institutions are producing new pool of women who can afford those institutions unfortunately most of them are still white. If we say let’s give white man a right to pick a white woman over a black woman are we not perpetuating the legacy of apartheid in our time. I would not love to see Zimbabwe happening here in 20 year’s time because by if that happens most whites will simply go to Australia to their buddies. We will be left to starve.

I heard so many white talking about going overseas because of BEE/ Affirmative action… will that girl in Alexander afford to go over seas because of unemployment in South Africa odds are against her. Others are saying they are being punished for the sins of their parents… there is a little bit of truth in that but are we saying lets punish the black chilled because her parents are black. There are more unemployed blacks than whites but the noise the white man is making is so deafening you can swear that we have crises of unemployment in the white community. Whites are used to privileges and when those privileges are shared they view that as a threat to their security. Black have nothing to lose they don’t have security, place to stay even food to put on the table. How are we going to reverse the imbalances of the past? If we have enough white women on top leadership lets give others a chance monopoly won’t help any one.


Beenz said...

Until we can abolish those two words (black & white) in this country, there is no hope. Its an easy excuse for both 'sides'. And the government uses it and encourages it because it sidetracks the people and lets them (the MP's) get away with making a stuff up of their jobs!

Ridwan said...

Over the weekend Professor Seepe gave me cause to pause and think about whether Biko would have been anti-Affirmative Action.

Seepe writes:
"Given Biko’s emphasis on self-reliance, it is reasonable to assume that he would have great discomfort with affirmative action and the current form of black economic empowerment. These forms of intervention discourage self-reliance and self-actualisation. They perpetuate the victim mentality and discourage an enterprising spirit. They also encourage a debilitating sense of entitlement."


I am not so sure that Biko would see AA as a "victim mentality" or "entitled".

This seems to be a rather conservative, and white-friendly, assessment of Biko's thinking.

AA is supposed to be about repair of a past that created an unequal society. It seeks not to unfairly victimize Blacks or whites.

It is needed in a nation-state sytem where government can't assure that the white owned economy would seek repair.

What I think Biko would hate is the manner that his message and image have been appropriated by the Charterists.

Additionally, he would detest the manner in which AA has been made to enrich a very few among the Charterists.

In this sense, I think that Professor Seepe reduces Biko to an uncomplex understanding of what Black Consciousness should look like today.

I would be interested in knowing what you or your readers think.


Muzi said...

Beenz it is almost impossible not to think in black and white in a country where everything is so Black and White. It is also true that politicians use this divide to their advantage. they ensure that they keep whites guilty all the time and as a results white will keep on giving more business to them and their buddies.
Ridwan I think Simplified this beyond practicality self reliance is possible where people are given opportunities to do so. Take the fishing community of Houtbay in CapeTown... they survived on fishing for years...that is what I cal self reliance the apartheid government didn't assist them but most importantly they didn't take that away from them. Those people a subjected poverty when big companies who can pay big money are making huge profits on our natural resources. Biko's thought are a reflection of the times of which those times have changed.I am sure given the poverty our people are subjected to Biko would be preaching a new message but definitely not affirmative action.

Mark said...

The problem with AA is that people without the necessary skills are being promoted into jobs that they are not qualified to do.

Look at what a disaster the home affairs department is, for an example.

AA and BEE are not the correct way to save South Africa. What is needed is education.

Strong, free, compulsory education. Adult education. That is what truly empowers the people.

But what is happening in our education sector? The ANC government is failing miserably, teachers are flocking overseas where they get paid for their skills. The schools in rural areas where they help the disadvantaged people the most are the ones in the poorest state.

All the while the ANC says "We want we want we want" and "everything" must be taken from the white man" but does not help to educate the citizens.

Vote them out!

Ridwan said...

Interesting thoughts no doubt but I can't see where my analysis has "simplified" the situation.

I guess we would have to disagree on what Biko would think about AA.

Having said that it seems that much of the argument that he would be anti-AA is based on an assessment that AA is a handout.

That is simply not so. AA had its origins in the Civil Rights struggle of the US in the 60s.

Malaysia, Cuba, and SAfrica, model their respective legislation on the US model of AA.

And, if we use this model then there is sufficient data to suggest that AA has strengths.

Blacks and women in the US would simply not have progressed as well in the US if AA was totally absent.

Is it perfect? No. Should it last forever? No.

What it attempts is to bring a level of equity to a system that is entirely out of balance.

Biko would not agree with that.

This does not mean that he would not be worried about the poor masses.

On the contrary, AA is supposed to be aimed at the poor masses.

The problems that you seem to be pointing to is a matter of elite manipulation.

And that manipulation is about a white economy calling the shots and defining what AA looks like.

In these terms it is too easy to speak of self-reliance without government assurances about development.

Take farmers for example. Without measures to bring equity for Black farmers where do you think we will be in 50 years?

Don't equate the mishandling of AA in SAfrica with the failure of what the policies are supposed to do.

Malaysia is a prime example of how AA can move a nation-state to greater levels of productivity and development, when and if, AA is administered efficiently.

In these contexts the argument for self-reliance is somewhat lopsided. There are no self-reliant communities anywhere in the world that are not tied to efficient and equitable governance.

Lastly, do not sell Biko or Black Consciousness short on its relevance to SAfrica today.

There is much to be said about a BC application of repair. And AA is not in this context anti-BC.

What is anti-BC is the state of the white dominated economy and its ANC lackeys.

Peace still,