Poll: The biggest obstacle to effective affirmative action is

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Thread: What is the real enemy of affirmative action?

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    What is the real enemy of affirmative action?

    It seems white women have made great strides in the workplace. To the point that some believe they no longer need priority support.
    Call for white women to bow out of employment equity
    White women should be struck off a list of groups recognised as previously disadvantaged in terms of the employment equity legislation, the Black Management Forum (BMF) said on Tuesday.

    In its written submission to the National Assembly's portfolio committee on labour, the forum requested that the current employment equity legislation be amended to exclude white women as beneficiaries.

    "We ... assert that white women bow out of employment equity and that this committee help institute amendments to the Employment Equity Act through a sunset clause [a provision that ends a power or programme] for white women," it read.

    This would help re-focus targeting people with disabilities, black people and, in particular, black women, the organisation said.

    Two months ago, Employment Equity Commission chairperson Jimmy Manyi suggested that white women, whom he said had surpassed their employment equity targets, should have their status reviewed.
    full story from M&G here
    The article goes on to list accusations against business, which really reflect the mindset of the parties. But there is a valid point to note in this. White women's lot has improved considerably. Perhaps prioritisation has worked.

    But why the big strides among white women and the seeming dissatisfaction among other priority groups?

    I'm inclined to disagree with the notion that it is out of racial preference. I'd suggest that business, being somewhat myopic about profits and the need for effectiveness, are far more interested in competence than race (or gender for that matter). There were some gender stereotypes that needed to be broken down. And maybe there's still some work to be done on that.

    Clearly there are some racial stereotypes that still need to be broken down, and in my view that particular problem seems more glaring among Manyi and co. than monist business.

    But surely the very success of white women under employment equity points to the fact that the real difficulty is elsewhere - competence, grounding, training, experience. In short, it's about being equipped.

    So my question is:
    Is the real obstacle to effective affirmative action (employment equity in particular) getting people equipped?
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Platinum Member Marq's Avatar
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    I think the biggest obstacle is the understanding of political objectives which promote affirmative action. While there is method and legislation in place to create the advancement of one community/race/gender/group/clan [fill in your own group here] over another we will never have the harmony necessary to grow all beings in a fair manner that will benefit the individual as well as the group as a whole.

    Enforced affirmative action is a political tool that is no different to apartheid, or any of the other practices around the world that enable various race,ethnic,tribal groups to achieve domination over each other. It has negative connotations due to the method in which it is taught, legalised and practised.

    The answer for me has to come out of a fair and balanced scenario where all are able to create opportunities at leading a normalised life. If we continue to throw threatening legal scenarios at the leader/builder groups instead of building the disadvantaged groups in a natural manner to become the next leaders/generation then there will always be a lock out scenario creating a blockage to developing the currently disadvantaged.

    A catch 22, but affirmative action in its current form is creating a playing field where the previously advantaged become the currently disadvantaged. Sure one has to recognise apartheid and its role to how the currently advantaged got into their position - but we should build on the advantages rather than try to break the previous lot down and force them out. Otherwise we continually bring everything down to the lowest common denominator and nobody gains.

    A no win situation for all. The real enemy of affirmative action is the label itself and the underlying tensions which it is creating. Release the tension, create a natural bond to the process which I believe is inherent in all of us good folk in this Country and the skills/stereotyping/recognition sets will come into being.

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    Platinum Member Marq's Avatar
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    Confused??

    I see this thread died a quick death.

    Two weeks ago I posted that
    I think the biggest obstacle is the understanding of political objectives which promote affirmative action.
    Surfing for something completely unrelated I came across this on the anc web site here

    The first line on this page says -
    There's an old saying: one person's meat is another person's poison. So it is with affirmative action.
    Four short paragraphs down it says
    We reject the idea of anything in the new democratic South Africa being meat for some and poison for others. That was what apartheid was all about.
    So are they [anc] confused as to what this is all about.......or am I?
    Basic concepts must be in place and understood before we can discuss obstacles.

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    That is a truly fascinating document. And a pretty solid foundation for a serious discussion around affirmative action. Particularly as it starkly reveals the ANC's paradigm.

    My underlying belief is that the current paradigm is fundamentally flawed - and I'll go into that in some detail perhaps over the weekend when I've got more time to lay it out. But for the meantime I'll draw attention to some "proof" that there is a fundamental problem here. And this part introduces the point quite nicely:
    Two options were being urged upon us. The one was to adopt a Constitution and Bill of Rights that would scrap apartheid laws, but establish the constitution as a Chinese wall against any attempt to alter the social and economic status quo.

    The other and opposite option was simply to require the new government to confiscate the spoils of apartheid and share them out amongst those who had been dispossessed. While this approach had the immediate attraction of correcting historic injustice, it could not be realistically advanced in the context of an anticipated negotiated transition to democracy. Furthermore, its adoption would have led to capital flight, the destruction of the economy and international isolation just at the time when the people would most be wishing to enjoy the benefits of their ages-old struggle.
    Let's focus on two parts here (because we certainly are not experiencing international isolation) - capital flight and destruction of the economy.

    Let's not kid ourselves. We have had not only a capital (money) flight but a skills flight - a loss of human capital. And policy is the majority conributor to that.

    The second is the destruction of the economy. Yes, the economy has expanded - on the back of a global bull run and massive credit expansion. But is it because of our ability to add value - or because we have squandered our capital?

    A person buys a house. It doubles in value over 4 years. The person converts that increase in value into a car. Now they have a house and a car. But is that as a result of constructive value-add efforts, or the windfall of favourable (and fickle) sentiment?

    The ship has caught a favourable wind, but has made less progress than other ships. When the global economic winds reverse - how will we fair then? Is our economic ship built of solid materials with a solid engine, or a makeshift raft that must burn itself for fuel?

    The real strength of an economy should be measured by its ability to turn dust into dollars - and somehow I don't think we've got better at that.
    Last edited by Dave A; 27-Sep-07 at 09:54 AM.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    What is the Real Enemy to AA?

    The leadership gap!

    Governement as 'nominated' leader of the people should endeavour to synergise their political appeasement efforts with realistic and holistic economic drives that are universally good for SA.

    There is a leadership gap in the many AA efforts by the SA government - yet to centralise control could result in an unwieldy system of delivery.

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    I have to agree with Dr Khumalo that leadersship is a major contributor here.

    It was also interesting to see a lack of suitably qualified people coming up in the report below.
    During 2006 and early 2007, reviews of compliance with the Employment Equity Act were conducted for the first time on six JSE-listed companies by Vanguard Mkosana, the director-general of labour.

    The report says: "Preliminary observations of the six companies were … shocking. All six of these companies did not comply with the full requirements of the act, consult with [their] employees, conduct an analysis of their workplace, prepare and implement an employment equity plan and submit a progress report to the department of labour, using prescribed forms."

    "Many of these employers acquired or appeared to have acquired the services of a consultant to satisfy the reporting element of the act. As a result, employment equity reports submitted by these employers over the years had no clear foundation to work from and thus were baseless," the report continues.

    "Most of the employers reviewed for employment equity cited not having a sufficient pool of suitably qualified candidates as the main reason for not employing black people."
    full story from IOL here
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Platinum Member Chatmaster's Avatar
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    I want to raise an issue here. IMO Affirmative Action is a great contributor to the devide in SA. The younger generation that are totally uninvolved in the past has very little if any racial divide. They are starting to enter the workplace atm and have to deal with AA every time they are looking for a job. This causes tension and a renewed awareness of racial prejudice.

    I feel it is way past bed time for AA as the only thing it is accomplishing atm is keeping racism alive. There is no evidence that it has helped anyone other than the elite few for the objectives that it was created. The standards of schooling and higher education has reached the level where all pupils regardless of race has received the same level of education for an entire generation! What is the point in continuing with AA? Well imo, it ensures that election time gets based on race and not on results... I mean until recently apartheid was still blamed for incompetency of some of our biggest leaders.

    I think that the moment AA walks out the door, a big change will happen in SA. But then again, maybe the ANC created a monster they do not know how to get rid of?

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    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chatmaster View Post
    The standards of schooling and higher education has reached the level where all pupils regardless of race has received the same level of education for an entire generation!
    I would question that. We still have a long way to go to reach "equal education," at least based on the anecdotal evidence that I have encountered.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chatmaster View Post
    But then again, maybe the ANC created a monster they do not know how to get rid of?
    Or maybe, that they don't want to get rid of?
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    I beg you to view it another way!

    It is an interim measure! A model which should be flexible and transparent! A political party to me should be a mere instrument - servant to its people - BAD Policy or delivery will eventually be punished by those whose support a party often takes for granted. I believe there are those in GVT who have no idea how to manage and make this AA Project a success! It is not a mere excercise in introducing some skin tones in the right places.

    The most beautiful outcome of AA should be to overcome ALL prejudice by first making people acutely aware of it.

    The 'younger' generations of differing upbringings (for I now know no race!) have very anti-parallel views about each other. Little knowledge or experience or participation in the PAST is a rather lame excuse for the apathetic engagement in this present time.

    I would find it selfish not to prepare the ground whereupon my children are going to engage with other people in the future. AA provides an inkling of how that arena is set to play out!

    Non-engagement of racial and other segregative and discriminative issues now is only a disaster postponed!

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    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr KGNKhumalo View Post
    Non-engagement of racial and other segregative and discriminative issues now is only a disaster postponed!
    I fully agree with that! What is challenging is how to effectively engage in a way which uplifts our society.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr KGNKhumalo View Post
    The most beautiful outcome of AA should be to overcome ALL prejudice by first making people acutely aware of it.
    Would you care to expand on this thought? It is intriguing as, to me, it is counter-intuitive.
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