28.6.06

To whom it may concern

Dear American Reader

On a day-to-day individual basis I do not discriminate in any way. In fact, I am often surprised at the level of racism I see at work (I work for a multi-national composed 75% of foreigners), which is probably of the few places in South Africa where racism is white looking down on black.

I think what B is talking about in his post is the very strange and unique situation we have in South Africa, which many call 'reverse racism'. (This is, of course, a misnomer. There is no such thing as reverse murder. Murder as revenge is still murder.)

In South Africa, there is institutionalized racism against non-black people. Although all sectors, particularly the public sector, face a severe skills shortage, white people are not considered equally for positions, due to affirmative action and something called Black Economic Empowerment, or BEE. Both these primitive concepts (which have failed dismally wherever they have been tried) have not only been legislated, but each company over 50 people must to have an affirmative action strategy to ensure that the color of their staff and the ownership of the company reflects the 'demographic composition' of the country (79% of South Africa is Black, 9.6% is white), or else they get fined. Small business owners and entrepreneurs now don’t only have to worry about making a profit and creating employment; they have to sign away a large part of the ownership of their business to black people once they succeed in growing their company.

This is thievery. No other word for it.

The system has led to a great deal of corruption, with the same group of rich black elite - all politically connected - receiving all government tenders and being invited by the big multi-nationals to become ‘partners’. What this partnership means is that these companies can now say they are BEE compliant and these new black partners get a fat check at the end of every month.

I promise you. I have heard this story many a time, often from the BEE partners themselves.

Sadly, this legislation only enriches this small group of already rich blacks, whilst the economic slowdown it causes negatively impacts those who need it most: the poor masses, be they black or white.

Also, those that are neither black nor white are bearing a very hard burden. During Apartheid they were discriminated against because they were not white, now they are discriminated against because they are not black. When will this absurdity end? Probably only when all the whites have left Africa, which may not be that far off in the future...

4 comments:

b said...

Hein isn't kidding. A coloured man was refused a job at Eskom, the Supplier of Electricity in South Africa, because he "wasn't black enough". This happens all the time: the reason it made headlines is that they actually told him this to his face, instead of just saying "you didn't get the job".

Highly intelligent young whites with rocket science degrees to their names sometimes take years to get their first job, because of this policy of affirmative action. Companies deal with this quota system by recruiting the brightest young Indian or Asian candidates straight from varsity, since these people were also discriminated against, and count to a lesser extent towards AA points. More often than not, these candidates come from relatively well-off families who successfully dealt with the prejudices and injustices stacked against them. I almost want to say that there are more young Indian and Asian employees in my industry (investments) than whites, but that might be pushing it. Despite the campaign, there are a limited number of blacks in comparable positions. They are simply not out there yet.

Employers rather take a chance on trainee positions or entry level positions than recruiting substandard candidates for the higher echelons.

These dynamics makes it very difficult for whites with no experience to get jobs. Young, white Afrikaans men are hit hardest, and many simply go overseas.

arcadia said...

i'm curious - how old are the guys who post on this blog? since 'young' could basically mean anything these days.

b said...

25 to 27.

We live in Joburg, Cape Town, London and Stellenbosch.

We really should flesh out our profiles...

Anonymous said...

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