Do SA still need affirmative action?


bluegray (May 30, 2007, 12:39:54 PM):
Three very different viewpoints:
SA still needs affirmative action
We dare not erase 'race' from debate
'Race' is a bankrupt concept

Mefiante (May 30, 2007, 13:22:29 PM):
The problem with AA, as with so many other things, is in its practical application, rather than in its principles or objectives. The original formulation of AA when it first surfaced in the USA some years ago can be summarised thus: given two candidates for employment who have comparable relevant qualifications and experience, preference should be given to the candidate who comes from a previously disadvantaged social group.

The salient points are "comparable relevant qualifications and experience" and "preference." That's all.

Unfortunately, this guideline is in practice perverted to mean the meeting of racial and/or gender quotas at just about any cost, a striving that is compounded by the fact that certain professions and activities are disproportionately represented in different social or demographic groups. Consequently, the dictum of "the best person for the job" often takes a back seat. How many male cashiers are employed at your local Hypermarket? How many female bus drivers do you know of?

Of course, the whole AA thing is a very delicate balancing act. No or only weakly policed AA will mean that a number of employment trends will prolong social inequalities, while too emphatic an aproach can lead to economic trouble if underskilled or inexperienced employees exceed their abilities. All in all, I think AA is a good thing, though it is perhaps too vigorously applied in certain sectors. For example, (and this is hearsay) one hears that SAPS and SANDF each have an unwritten and indefinite moratorium on employing whites. Ditto a certain large SA corporation.



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