Is race-based affirmative action unconstitutional? Two commentators say it is.


South Africa’s constitution is unequivocal on the matter of non-racialism. But what happens when an ostensibly race-based system is applied, supposedly in good faith, to redress economic disparities which the system of apartheid created?
While acknowledging the urgency of a redress, two commentators note in an article published in the City Press’ business section on 7th December 2014: “…Race-based affirmative action is an unjust and ineffective way of achieving redress. In its current form, it harms those who it seeks to benefit.”
They argue that “non-racialism means that race is not something to be used to determine our value as human beings. It is a recognition of the fact that no one is better or worse because of the colour of their skin”.

Like others have contended, they say raced-based affirmative action is veiled apartheid. As long as the solution rests on racial-classification it is unjust, they stake their case.
The two commentators criticise the premise that public sector institutions should represent the racial demographics as implausible. It might be possible that they might be a concentration of a particular racial group in a certain industry by chance, and it might not be practical for the so-called black population or African might be proportionately represented.
Inadvertently or not, what has emerged is a society fixated with race-based appointments for various institutions at the expense of merit. Qualified candidates are overlooked because they do not fit the bill. That’s what non-racialism is all about!

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