Apartheid is under new management


By Nicholas Woode-Smith

The Equal Employment Amendment Act is not only a perverse, incompetent and tyrannical piece of legislation, but another milestone on this government’s journey to embrace its own form of apartheid.

The amendment bill, proposed on May 12, 2023, aims to establish strict racial quotas for any business with more than 50 employees. These quotas are arbitrarily allocated across each province and across dozens of industries. And, as should not come as a surprise to those who have watched the ANC’s obsession with race over the years, it effectively disqualifies colored and Indian individuals from working in entire parts of certain industries and provinces.

The law sets minimum and maximum quotas for employees of certain racial groups. First, it should be completely unacceptable. The fact that we still use racial quotas at all, rather than focusing on the merits of individuals or some other criterion to determine employability, indicates that South Africa still has a long way to go before we have a competent state.

In practice, this minimum and maximum racial quota creates a terrible paradox for employers, as it can become impossible for them to fulfill. If a business in a province is required that 1% of its employees must be Indian (no more, no less), and the business hires an Indian, the business will suddenly see that 2% of its employees are Indian; a violation of the rule. If this employee is subsequently fired, they will have 0% Indian employees and again theoretically be in violation.

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. The penalty for violation is disqualification from tenders and business dealing with the state. This will prevent many legitimate businesses from providing their services to municipalities and the government. And this gap will undoubtedly be filled by corrupt tenderpreneurs who have faked their quota compliance.

However, this type of legislation is nothing new in South Africa. This is just an attempt to strengthen existing racial quotas and social engineering.

Black Economic Empowerment (SEB) has been used for decades as a tool for the corrupt to use ‘rectification’ and ‘racial equality’ to gain ill-gotten wealth – amounting to gross corruption and distortion of original intentions, whether good or bad . But this did not benefit the truly disadvantaged. It did not address poverty. All it has done is damage and confuse businesses, while allowing criminals to manipulate the system to benefit themselves.

However, the ANC is not the creator of racial quotas, race-based employment and social engineering. They are simply a student of the regime that replaced them.

Apartheid’s racial quotas

Apartheid was essentially all about race-based employment and racial quotas. When we remember it today, we are mostly reminded of the so-called small apartheid. The white beaches and banks; the dumbass; the separate bathrooms. But that was just the impractical, ridiculous side of apartheid.

What started it all was an obsession by white workers and unions, not to face black competition in the labor market.

In 1921 a large labor uprising broke out in and around Johannesburg. The Rand Rebellion, as it was called, was fueled by mining companies who lowered wages and abandoned racial quotas to allow the promotion and employment of black workers in skilled and supervisory positions. White workers, represented by the Communist Party of South Africa and a variety of workers’ organizations, staged a violent uprising to force the mining companies and the government to strengthen racial barriers to employment.

This is typified in the slogan of the rebellion: “Workers of the world, unite and fight for a white South Africa”.

The Randse Rebellie was crushed by Jan Smuts, but soon achieved an electoral victory in the 1924 election. The new regime, a coalition of the National Party and the Labor Party, recognized white unions while reinstating racial barriers.

The political power of these white nationalists and socialists grew and eventually culminated in the outright victory of the National Party in 1948. While apartheid would later be formally baptized and implemented, it was effectively already phased in over time.

And at the root of it all was a desire by white nationalists to ensure that they did not face competition from other races in the labor market, a desire they believed was justified by the poverty of their people at the end of the Second Anglo – Boer War, and a need for correction.

Apartheid continued

Correction can be legal, but it must not come in the form of retaliation, job discussions or quotas. All it achieves is a cycle of hate. It doesn’t stop. All it does is hurt a lot of people along the way.

In addition, colored and Indian people were also disadvantaged by apartheid. In what way is it fair to punish them in an attempt at correction?

It is clear that while the smaller sides of apartheid ended happily, and universal suffrage was achieved, much of the ideology of apartheid persists in those who claimed to have defeated it. Racial quotas are the root of apartheid thinking. Add to this that the ANC is desperate to carry out expropriation without compensation, and you get a government that not only wants to push entire racial groups out of service, but also has the tools to effect forced relocations.

We can also dig deep into how the Bantustans, nations fabricated by the apartheid regime, were never truly abolished, and persisted under their own tribal trusts and customary law – denying their people property rights and turning swaths of land into unworkable, unprofitable and corrupt deserts has.

What is clear is that the ANC learned much more from apartheid than just how to overthrow it. It has learned how to turn it on its perceived enemies. And this government will continue to reinforce its own form of apartheid, not caring who gets hurt, until its bizarre idea of ​​justice, redress and nationalism is achieved.

Unless South African citizens put their foot down and stop it.

  • Nicholas Woode-Smith is an author, historian, political analyst and contributing writer for the Free Market Foundation.