Affirmative action has worked substantially well in the USA, but South Africa needs to look for specific solutions to its particular problem. In a CDE debate session, participants were asked to provide their views on affirmative action in South Africa and in the USA.
There is a difference in the magnitude of the problem between the two countries. For example in the USA, black Americans are in the minority, 30 million amongst 300 million; by contrast, black South Africans are in the majority. The problems of making equity work are far more difficult when the disadvantaged are in the majority.
Training and human resource development is of the utmost importance, yet South Africa does not have an affirmative action programme in this area.
If affirmative action is to be the enabling process for correcting past injustices and assuring the disadvantaged of a fair chance in employment, education and business, then it is the institutions and the structures that will have to be addressed.