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."