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Putting the "affirmation" back into affirmative action

The way in which the affirmative action policies of the ANC government are being implemented is not really working. The poverty and inequality of the old apartheid order has been succeeded by greater inequality and poverty.

 

This is not the way it should be. Apartheid was, quite rightly, declared a crime against humanity. The new order in SA is aimed at healing the wounds of the past, creating a society based on human dignity, equality and freedom; not at creating new abominations. Nor was it meant to be this way.

 

Consider what Nelson Mandela said in October 1991, when the ways of redressing the imbalances of the past were first under discussion in the negotiations that led to the National Accord that underpins our new constitutional dispensation:

"The primary aims of affirmative action must be to redress the imbalances created by apartheid. We are not . . . asking for hand-outs for anyone nor are we saying that just as a white skin was a passport to privilege in the past, so a black skin should be the basis of privilege in the future. Nor . . . is it our aim to do away with qualifications. What we are against is not the upholding of standards as such but the sustaining of barriers to the attainment of standards; the special measures that we envisage to overcome the legacy of past discrimination are not intended to ensure the advancement of unqualified persons, but to see to it that those who have been denied access to qualifications in the past can become qualified now, and those who have been qualified all along but overlooked because of past discrimination, are at least given their due. The first point to be made is that affirmative action must be rooted in principles of justice and equality."

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Transformation Audit 2011

Transformation Audit 2011 | South Africa Rising | Scoop.it

CHAPTER 1: ECONOMIC GOVERNANCE

The Economy at a Glance

Review: ‘If you want peace, fight for justice’: Economic policy in a divided society, Neva Makgetla

Opinion: Nationalisation of mines
A necessary step towards economic liberation, Chris Malikane
Burdening the state does not serve the cause of economic liberation, Michael Spicer

CHAPTER 2: THE LABOUR MARKET

The Labour Market at a Glance

Review: Employment under pressure – inclusive strategies are in everybody’s interest, Saliem Patel

Opinion: Are labour unions still serving the interests of the entire working class?
Reinvent to remain relevant: The challenge for unions as the voice of the working class, Ebrahim-Khalil Hassen
Trade union strategies are not helping the poor and unemployed, Carol Paton

CHAPTER 3: SKILLS AND EDUCATION

Skills and Education at a Glance

Review: The challenge of South African schooling: dimensions, targets and initiatives, Linda Chisholm

Opinion: Do uniform targets help to improve schooling outcomes?
Balanced criteria should replace perverse pass-rate incentives, Nick Taylor
Beware of the misleading means and measures, Russell Wildeman

CHAPTER 4: POVERTY AND INEQUALITY

Poverty and Inequality at a Glance

Review: Policies for reducing income inequality and poverty in South Africa, Arden Finn, Murray Leibbrandt & Eva Wegner

Opinion: Is it time to adopt a new developmental model?
Planning the status quo? A sustainable development model needs new thinking, Patrick Bond
Social and economic inclusion in post-apartheid South Africa, Vusi Gumede

CHAPTER 5: PERCEPTIONS OF WELL-BEING

Public Opinion on Economic Security

Economic security in a time of uncertainty: A South African public opinion perspective, Jan Hofmeyr & Lucía Tiscornia

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BusinessDay - Bend debate around labour flexibility back to the facts

BusinessDay - Bend debate around labour flexibility back to the facts | South Africa Rising | Scoop.it
THE Employing Workers Indicators (EWI) published by the World Bank since 1993 in its Doing Business reports rank countries according to the extent to which they regulate their labour markets. The greater protection workers receive (irrespective of the quality or social benefits of these laws) the less favourable a country’s ranking.

SA’s mid-table ranking (102nd out of 182 countries) has been used (particularly by business representatives and editorial writers) to argue that SA’s labour laws are too rigid and inhibit employment and investment.

In late April, the World Bank withdrew the EWI. This development did not receive the publicity that the World Bank lavishes annually on the launch of the Doing Business reports.

The EWI was withdrawn after criticism by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and, very significantly, the World Bank’s own Independent Evaluation Group. These show that there is no relationship between the labour market deregulation the EWI advocates and any genuine improvement in economic performance, such as higher growth, investment or employment rates.
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Daily Maverick :: Language: SA's fiery crucible of politics and identity

Daily Maverick :: Language: SA's fiery crucible of politics and identity | South Africa Rising | Scoop.it
The events of 16 June 1976, showed South Africa how the issue of language can become a raging political fireball.


English is clearly punching above its weight. A language spoken at home by less than 4-million South Africans is overwhelmingly the language of the country’s public space. After Jacob Zuma gave his widely panned 8 January address at the ANC centenary celebrations this month, many commentators suggested that he would be a far more charismatic and convincing orator if he were to give these kinds of speeches in Zulu rather than English. How did we get to the point where English is considered the natural medium for this kind of national address?

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South Africa : Not yet post-colonial | | History Matters

South Africa : Not yet post-colonial | | History Matters | South Africa Rising | Scoop.it

The “Robben Islanders” under Mandela first led the ANC after its unbanning in 1990, and the government from April 1994. Their guiding ideology was a non-racial nationalism and they laid strong emphasis on reconciliation. The combination of Mandela’s extraordinary unifying power, a relatively strong state and infrastructure, and the huge goodwill and trust in the future by the majority of citizens gave them a unique chance in South Africa’s history to balance imported modernity with outstanding local needs.

Unfortunately they did not grasp this because of a failure to understand that even non-racial nationalism is an effect of the colonial political economy, rather than its alternative; a failure to rise to the challenges of the “Washington Consensus”, which meant South Africa, under Mbeki’s stewardship, was the first African government to “voluntarily” adopt the WC’s approach through the neo-liberal GEAR (Growth, Employment and Redistribution) economic policy in 1996 without consulting the country or the ANC; and an adoption of race-based policies of positive labour discrimination (affirmative action) and economic empowerment of the poor (Black Economic Empowerment, BEE).

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Pay gap still starts in schools - South Africa | IOL News | IOL.co.za

Pay gap still starts in schools - South Africa | IOL News | IOL.co.za | South Africa Rising | Scoop.it

A high school friend use to say that to be born black under apartheid meant starting life being buried 2m below the earth and having to spend a big chunk of one’s life digging oneself out. By the time one did catch the first breath of fresh air, one would be close to retirement.

Despite tons of money being thrown at the education system, black children are still born buried 2m below the earth and they will have to dig themselves up to catch their first fresh breath of socio-economic air.

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Insight: Economic horizons darken for ANC-ruled South Africa - Reuters

Insight: Economic horizons darken for ANC-ruled South Africa - Reuters | South Africa Rising | Scoop.it
Fox NewsInsight: Economic horizons darken for ANC-ruled South AfricaReutersBy Jon Herskovitz | JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Trevor Ghavala has grown up in post-apartheid South Africa, and like nearly half his young adult contemporaries he is unemployed...
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Brain drain to brain gain: Africa’s returning Diaspora

Brain drain to brain gain: Africa’s returning Diaspora | South Africa Rising | Scoop.it
This paper examines the trend of African professionals in the Diaspora repatriating back to Africa.
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Are we prepared for 20% growth? - Business LIVE

Are we prepared for 20% growth? - Business LIVE | South Africa Rising | Scoop.it

While most economists have cut their growth forecasts for 2012 on the back of the ongoing eurozone crisis, a slew of data from December and January shows that planners should instead be preparing for 20% growth.

Mostly coal bulk exports out of Richards Bay, which uses the Mpumalanga-Richards Bay electrified rail link, surged by 34.3% y/y in January 2012 giving the lie to forecasts of slower export demand.

The rail link between Sishen and Saldanha also saw increased traffic as bulk exports out of Saldanha rose by 25.0% y/y in January. Impressive as the January 2012 bulk exports are, they are still 4.5% and 7.2% respectively below the monthly records achieved in 2011.

Cement sales volumes also grew above 20% y/y in January with a 22.0% rise as part of those sales went to build the new coal-fired power stations of Medupi and Kusile.

The step change in economic activity was already evident in the December 2011 Treasury statement as it showed government revenue soaring by 22.6% y/y to a record R102.065 billion. This was broad-based as company tax collections jumped by 30.7% y/y and Value Added Tax (VAT) collections grew by 30.5% y/y.

 

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Economic Assessment of South Africa 2008: Realising South Africa's employment potential

Economic Assessment of South Africa 2008: Realising South Africa's employment potential | South Africa Rising | Scoop.it
This Chapter analyses the rise of unemployment in South Africa since the early 1990s and discusses policies for reducing it.

 

South Africa has relatively strong average labour productivity, but extremely low employment (Figure 1). Although in the long-run sustained increases in living standards and convergence to the levels enjoyed by advanced countries will only be achieved via growth in labour productivity, this suggests that in the near term priority should be given to creating jobs for the millions of primarily low-skilled South Africans currently wanting work.

 

Prominent among the common complaints heard about South Africa’s labour market rigidities is the claim that firing costs are too high. While the computation of an OECD employment protection legislation (EPL) indicator suggests that in fact the laws are not particularly restrictive (Figure 2), it does seem that some aspects of the implementation of the regulations could be improved.

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Historic church holds ANC service - Pretoria News | IOL.co.za

Historic church holds ANC service - Pretoria News | IOL.co.za | South Africa Rising | Scoop.it

Where it all began 100 years ago for the ANC (and the whole South Africa)

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South Africa gets to grips with AIDS - Le Monde diplomatique - English edition

South Africa gets to grips with AIDS - Le Monde diplomatique - English edition | South Africa Rising | Scoop.it
Each year millions of people die from avoidable or curable illnesses. Since 2002, an unprecedented financial effort has helped transform world health.

“ Things have vastly changed these past years,” said Lynne Wilkinson, an MSF doctor in Khayelitsha. “Here, 20,000 residents are currently under treatment. We have almost stopped seeing terminally ill patients brought to the clinic in a wheelbarrow.”

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In defence of race-based policy

In defence of race-based policy | South Africa Rising | Scoop.it
In the first of a two-part article Max Price argues that universities have to consider students' socioeconomic status.

The debate on affirmative action in university admissions has moved ­significantly in the past few years. No doubt there are still some who argue that a meritocratic selection system should consider only the marks achieved in the national ­senior certificate school-leaving exam (matric).

But anyone familiar with the school system will know that the difference between pupils' ­performances in a national exam has much more to do with the school they went to, their socioeconomic status and the conditions under which they live and learn than with academic ability alone.
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