IOL - OPINION / 11 APRIL 2019 - 08:30 / LETTERS
DURBAN - Although Vusumuzi Gcuma poses constructive questions concerning opposition to B-BBEE and affirmative action (The Mercury, April 8), the reality is that prescriptive legislation does not cure inequality.
There are two insurmountable problems with the quest to redress the legacy of inequality. One is that time can neither be turned back nor arrested. The other is that by legislatively prioritising one racial group over others, the law of unintended consequences comes into play, resulting in the creation of a new class of disadvantaged persons.
Gcuma correctly cites the legislation of the 1930s, which was aimed exclusively at uplifting poor whites, particularly Afrikaners. However, the long-term outcome proved detrimental to many in that group, as the sheltered state employment they were given did not encourage higher education or skills development. With the liberalisation of state employment from 1980s, many of those whites found themselves cast economically adrift. Hence the existence of several white squatter camps around Pretoria.
If Gcuma consulted freight businesses, real estate agents and agencies involved in processing emigration applications, he would have no doubt as to the thousands of skilled South Africans from minority groups who are leaving our shores because they see no future for their children.
Already in Australia alone, there are upwards of 400000 South Africans who have settled there.
There are no actual figures for the number of black individuals who went into exile during the apartheid era. But people are emigrating today for the same reasons - race-based ideology and its socio-economic discrimination.
B-BBEE and affirmative action are based on demographic representivity. That means race. For Gcuma to assert that those policies are “repealing the ideology of race” is nonsense. It’s a new form of race-entrenched job reservation. As Woodrow Wilson once said: “You can’t find your way to reform using the same policies that made reform necessary in the first place.”
The only way to address inequality is to free the economy from inflexible legislative prescription and regulation.
As Trump has shown in the US, the resultant economic growth reduces unemployment and alleviates poverty.
Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER