Friday, February 02, 2007

Affirmative Action and the ANC

The Cape Argus (via IOL) reports that a draft ANC document for the upcoming ANC conference in December is set to announce that the party is prepared to see the end of official affirmative action policies in the future.:
Although the party does not moot a sunset clause for the policy, it does acknowledge in its draft strategy and tactics document that the need for affirmative action "will decline in the same measure as all centres of power and influence become broadly representative of the country's demographics".

Of course just when that will happen is anyone's guess. We have not achieved such a goal in the United States after four decades and I still support affirmative action here because I do not even vaguely see the sort of progress that would lead to the end of afirmative policies of hiring or school admissions.

Yet it is telling that South Africans are already cognizant of this debate. The huge difference is demographic, of course. The "African" population (in which I count Indians/Asians and Coloureds as well) is the vast majority in a country in which the government is now overwhelmingly African. As a consequence, despite the fact that apartheid was still so recent and so rigidly oppressive, the rapid transformation into a democratic government means that the majority no longer holds power in ways that it continues to do so in the United States.

Still, the end of the need for affirmative action will likely be a long time in coming in South Africa. And this is fine -- I see no sense in hastily dismantling a policy that is so necessary and has accomplished so much good in a country still limping from apartheid injuries.

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