Saturday, February 29, 2020
Affirmative Action Initiative in South Africa
Affirmative Action Initiative in South Africa Affirmative action is an initiative adopted by the South African government, which seeks to correct the imbalance of wealth and provide opportunities to the people who were adversely affected as a result of the apartheid regime. It has created a situation where organizations are required to meet specific employment targets for persons of colour in order to operate to the satisfaction of the state. As a result, these people are able to participate in the corporate environment at an accelerated rate. On the contrary, many white South Africans are finding it difficult to obtain their most select employment. The efficiency of affirmative action is best analyzed by assessing its objective of promoting black representation in the workplace and comparing it to empirical evidence. Figures provided by the government indicate that the unemployment rate has steadily declined annually since the inception of the study (September 2001). The September 2007 average unemployment rate of 23% is signi ficantly lower than 29.4% in September 2001. This provides evidence that the policy is doing well to provide work to more South Africans. (www.statssa.gov.za/publications/P0210/P0210September2007.pdf) However, a more in-depth study reveals the change in unemployment rates amongst each population group. The best results have been for black people with a decline from approximately 35% (September 2001) to 26.8% (September 2007). The Indian people in the country also improved from approximately 19% to 10% over the same period. White and coloured unemployment rates have remained relatively static over this period at approximately 5% and 20% respectively. This bodes well for black and Indian people and is a strong indicator that affirmative action is achieving its goals. The policy seems to be failing in its attempt to compensate the coloured population. (www.statssa.gov.za/publications/P0210/P0210September2007.pdf) However, there are problems that are emerging from affirmative action tha t is having a detrimental effect on the performance on enterprises and the overall success of the economy. The instantaneous and rapid enactment of affirmative action has seen unqualified persons attaining important positions. Many of these people were/are incapable of fulfilling the roles they have been assigned. This has a negative impact on, firstly, the corporation employing these people as they incur costs without the required level of service from their employees. It also adversely affects the consumer, who is dependant upon those employed by organizations to make the best decisions in order to obtain maximum reward. A situation exists whereby unskilled employees are filling skilled positions. (www.sairr.org.za/press-office/institute-opinion) Another concern is that many white South Africans are leaving the country, resulting in a major shortage of fundamental skills. The South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) revealed that between 1995 and 2005, one million white S outh Africans moved abroad. The lack of adequate services has left the country in desperate need of professionals. These people also served as mentors/teachers to inexperienced employees and accelerated their development in the organizations thus exacerbating the problem of their departure. (www.fin24.com/articles/default/display_article) Many contend that a weakness of the affirmative action policy is that it creates a minority of rich black people and does not help the rest (www.new.bbc.co.uk). The majority of the black population are unskilled workers without educations. These people are likely to struggle even with affirmative action in place as their employment options are limited to low income earning sectors due to educational and language problems. It is anticipated that the current generation of black children will reap the benefits of the policy. The government has put facilities in place to ensure these people are schooled and can attain funding for universities. These ar e the real beneficiaries of the system as their employment options are diverse. It would therefore seem that the efficiency of affirmative action should only be interpreted to a significant extent when the current black youth reaches adulthood.