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article imageOp-Ed: The return of apartheid-style race-based law in South Africa

By Tamara Aspeling     Oct 2, 2012 in Politics
Johannesburg - During apartheid, one of the reasons the whole world opposed the régime was that it legislated racism into being. In a very real sense, apartheid made it legal to discriminate, based on race. Not much has changed.
Today, at a news briefing in Johannesburg, the hub of South Africa's mining industry and the economic center of South Africa, Rob Davies, in his capacity as Trade and Industry Minister, reaffirmed that.
In fact, if the stricter guidelines that the ruling ANC party are bent on imposing on private industry in South Africa are anything to go on, it's only a matter of time before the new South Africa becomes indistinguishable from it's predecessor.
The legislation has to do with BEE - Black Economic Empowerment.
On the face of it, this legislation, introduced early on in democratic South Africa, appears to be a good mechanism for addressing past injustices.
However, as political analyst and brother of the former president of South Africa, Moeletsi Mbeki has often said, the spirit of the legislation may be noble, but the application is neither noble nor effective.
A sign from the apartheid era. Apartheid was all about race laws. Not much has changed.
A sign from the apartheid era. Apartheid was all about race laws. Not much has changed.
Essentially, in the past, BEE legislation allowed black owned and operated companies to charge higher prices to government on bids or tenders, and still be awarded lucrative contracts based on race alone. The cost to public coffers was bad enough, but the latest changes to BEE legislation takes the racist nature of this law one step further.
Under the new BEE codes, the South African government will dictate the minimum black ownership for all companies in South Africa, in order to be compliant.
In a move that mirrors similar laws in Zimbabwe, the ANC led South African government are creating laws that force private business owners to hand over shares in their businesses based on nothing more than race.
Apartheid and its race based laws caused outrage throughout the world, and that outrage had a significant role in the abolition of the system. The only question now is when the world will wake up and realise that nothing has changed in South Africa, and that racially biased laws still exist?
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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