Skills development and structural change: possibilities for and limitations of redressing structural racial inequalities in South Africa
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Improving structural racial equality for historically-disadvantaged Black South Africans, including low-skilled and unemployed adults and youths, is a pertinent challenge for the South African government during the ongoing transition from apartheid capitalism to post-apartheid capitalism. Within the framework of the National Skills Development Strategy (NSDS), the introduction of ‘‘learnerships’’ and ‘‘learning programmes’’, which include structured learning programmes, learnerships, apprenticeships and skills programmes, has had some impact. But emerging theoretical perspectives assert that apartheid structural racial inequalities persist and that structural reform is imperative. Opposing positions translate into two perspectives on social transition: either capitalism can be de-racialised, or capitalism in South Africa should be dismantled in order to de-racialise it. After a review of relevant literature and governmental documents, the author identifies five structural and pedagogical barriers as likely causes for low completion rates of skills development courses and concludes that structural reform needs more favourable political and economic conditions in order to be successful.