Affirmative action practised within a highly competitive socioeconomic environment created by the neoliberal economic policy framework of the government is sure to create resentment in certain quarters.
The ANC government having succumbed to the pressure to abandon the RDP and adopt laissez-faire capitalism with its resultant widening of the gap between rich and poor,which given the legacy of apartheid, translates generally into the gap between whites and blacks, has chosen the path of affirmative action and BEE as redress for past injustices.
However, the effect of these policies is to unite the elites of the white and black communities, which are extremely small, while simultaneously aggravating racial tensions between the lower strata of all communities as they struggle to survive in a highly competitive socio-economic environment based on greed, crass materialism, corruption and selfish individualism.
For us to move forward as a nation, we need to recognise this soon before essentially what are socioeconomic or class issues become confused and conflated with the racial divides of our recent past, causing social mayhem.
We need to start with a basic income grant, preferably in the form of local interest-free currencies, recognising that an interest- and debt-based money system is inimical to ubuntu.
Now more than ever, we need economic policies which unite the majority, not just the elite.
Published on the web by Cape Times on May 8, 2007.