LETTER: Enforcing more race laws will not alleviate poverty
The legislation is unconstitutional and will have a major negative effect on the country
President Cyril Ramaphosa’s decision to sign the Employment Equity Amendment Bill into law is deeply concerning. The legislation is unconstitutional and implementing it will have a major negative effect on the country.
The Institute of Race Relations has written to Ramaphosa on numerous occasions warning of the likely effects of the draft law and urging him to send it back to the National Assembly for revision. We pointed out that the president is obliged by Section 79 (1) of the constitution to refer the Bill back to parliament for revision if he has reservations about its constitutionality.
Moreover, it is evident that race laws fail their intended beneficiaries. Race-based policies have, over the last 16 years, entrenched crony-capitalist business practices and increased the stakes for those with political connections, while the vast majority of South Africans have been trapped within the resulting no-growth framework.
The Employment Equity Bill is another anti-poor race law that will only worsen these trends and effects. Enforcing more race laws will not solve the poverty and inequality that afflict previously disadvantaged groups. Instead, it will make things worse.
The 2022 Q4 unemployment numbers from Stats SA provide ample proof that race-based policies have not worked — 36.8% of black Africans were unemployed, compared with 21.1% of coloureds, 14.4% of Indians/Asians, and 8.2% of whites.
Notably, the report of the Zondo state capture commission said of race-based policies that “evidence shows that the ideals of [black] empowerment were grossly manipulated and abused to advance the interests of a few individuals”.
Ramaphosa owes South Africans an explanation for enforcing more race-based policies despite their continued failure.
Institute of Race Relations
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