(1) Is affirmative action policy morally defensible? Explain. Affirmative action refers to the policy being implemented to create equality within racism, religion, sexuality and colour. It is being discussed in South Africa that the policies focus on employment, education and health programs that disadvanted people and women have equal opportunities in the work place. President John Kennedy of United Nations signed it on March 1961 that government employers ” not discriminate against, any employee or applicant for employment because of race, colour, creed, or national origin”. it was created to make sure that all applicants are employed and employees are treated during employment without regard to their race, creed, colour, or national origin”. In South Africa it applies to both employers and employees and it protects workers and job seekers from unfair discrimination. it has been argued that it helped the poor people, women and disabled people to get access to jobs, education and health facilities. During apartheid black people had no access to universities like (UCT) university of Cape Town. But now black people, Asians, and coloured people are being enrolled though there are still differences but to a greater extend its defensible. Moreover affirmative action is defensible in a sense that women during apartheid were not allowed to take positions in companies besides working as tea ladies but in present life most women are working in companies and occupying higher positions in companies and political parties. Angelina Motshega minister of education is one of the example that indicates that the policy had succeeded in some areas thereby led it being defensible. Furthermore companies in South Africa and mines were being owned by white people most during the time of apartheid. But since affirmative action was implemented black people now own companies and mines, Patrick Motsepe is of of the black people in south Africa who is owning some mines, therefore the policy comes as a benefit to people which makes it defensible. In as far as health is concerned the policy played a major role by improving the health opportunities and accessibility to disadvantaged people. During apartheid there was limited accessibility to health facility within black people because they couldn’t afford to pay for medication, thereafter the government introduced free medication to the majority and a lot of free clinics and hospital were established. Accommodation was a big problem before the implementation of affirmative action. Black people most of them couldn’t afford to stay in suburbs as well as nice houses, but the government of Nelson Mandela prioritized social spending in health, welfare, education and housing in its first term. It introduced Reconstruction and development programme on housing (RDP), the project which were building houses for the disadvantaged population. The policy gives access to piped water, electricity and good roads within black African and coloured populations. Legal aid was also lacking within the black community, prior to 1994, black South African were unprotected by the law. And the source states that ” legal codes of the country categorized human beings as African, coloured, endian or white. Racism under apartheid was both informal (everyday practice) and formal (laws designated areas where blacks could and could not live. There was no interracial sex, it was banned. White people were not permitted to get married to black people. Moreover black men and women were subjected to the humiliation of carrying passes during apartheid while most white people were not subjected to. Therefore the legislation of the new south Africa scrapped most of the old laws and rewritten in line with the South African constitution and international human rights agreements, thereby granted equal freedom to all South African nationals. In South Africa affirmative action led to the emerge of Black Economic Empowerment (BEE). The BEE was implemented to promote the equality of black people in jobs and companies. It was established to promote growth and to develop the South Africa economy. The BEE focused more on employment equality not the destruction in white people’s wealth away from their skilled labourers. The broadening of the economic base and therefore stimulating economic growth was the main goal of affirmative action for a country to reach its full potential. In conclusion many people embraced the policy; however some concluded that the policy contradicted itself. The policy eliminates unfair discrimination in certain sectors of the national labour market by imposing similar constraints on another (Employment Equality Act, 55 in 1998, 4 years after the end of apartheid). In addition there are many people who don’t see affirmative action as a positive policy and would like to see it eliminated. In my own opinion these people need to realize that the period of affirmative action which we experience is not long enough time to solve major society problems. Finally the affirmative action policy is defensible in a sense that it played a major role by solving the problem of racial inequality in United States and South Africa. Affirmative action is a policy we should all support until better and more effective plans are proposed.
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