Motlanthe 'immoral' on affirmative action, says FF+

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe’s defence of affirmative action during his visit to the United States is “immoral”, the Freedom Front+ said on Tuesday.

“The time has come for affirmative action to be phased out,” FF+ spokesperson Anton Alberts said in a statement.

The ANC had already been in power for 16 years and the public service had been over-transformed, “but the ANC is still busy reserving jobs based upon race”.

The ANC would have to indicate whether it saw affirmative action as an instrument with which to make reparations or whether it was a permanent structure of the new regime.

“Deputy President Motlanthe also took up the cudgels for [government spokesperson] Jimmy Manyi and justified his distasteful and immoral statements,” Alberts said.

However, Motlanthe led his US audience “up the garden path” as various minority groups were under-represented on various levels in the public service.

A parliamentary question to Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant showed that white and coloured women were under-represented at top management level, coloureds at senior management, and coloureds and Indians at skilled technical and junior management level.

Equal opportunities
At the semi-skilled and unskilled levels, whites and Indians were under-represented.

“It is clear that the government still has a lot of work to do to offer minorities equal opportunities to find employment in the public service.

“It is due to blatant discrimination against white people that there is such an under-representation of this minority group in the public service.

“Both Deputy President Motlanthe and Jimmy Manyi should apply the Employment Equity Act as a whole to ensure fairness,” Alberts said.

Speaking at New York University on Monday, Motlanthe said, among other things, there were people who were seeking to undermine affirmative action who were taking advantage of Manyi’s remarks.

“They wait for a black person, who sees things in black and white, to make a statement and then they say, ‘that is racism in reverse’.”

Motlanthe argued that affirmative action was the only way to amend economic inequalities that were the legacy of apartheid.

He said that one of the other means was through education, but lamented that education for most poor South Africans was being given short thrift, while students at the former Model C schools had more opportunities.—Sapa

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