Affirmative action in education and Black Economic Empowerment in the workplace in South Africa since 1994: policies, strengths and limitations
Herman, Harold D.
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This paper explains the concepts of Affirmative Action (AA) and Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) and the policies developed in post-Apartheid South Africa. It compares it to similar policies adopted in different contexts in Malaysia, India and the U.S.A. It explains and critiques the South African policies on AA and BEE, its history since 1994 and how class has replaced race as the determinant of who succeeds in education and the workplace. It analyses why these policies were essential to address the massive racial divide in education and the workplace at the arrival of democracy in 1994, but also why it has been controversial and racially divisive. The strengths and limitations of these policies are juxtaposed, the way it has benefitted the black and white elites, bolstered the black middle-class but has had little success in addressing the education and job futures of poor, working class black citizens in South Africa. The views of a number of key social analysts in the field are stated to explain the moral, racial, divisive aspects of AA in relation to the international experience and how South Africa is grappling with limited success to bridge the divide between the rich and poor.