The justifications and limits of affirmative action : a jurisprudential and legal critique

SUNScholar Research Repository

Show simple item record

dc.contributor.advisor Botha, H. en_ZA
dc.contributor.advisor Dupper, O. en_ZA
dc.contributor.author Nel, Erin Leigh en_ZA
dc.contributor.other Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Law. Dept. of Public Law. en_ZA
dc.date.accessioned 2011-11-16T11:36:37Z en_ZA
dc.date.accessioned 2011-12-05T13:14:04Z
dc.date.available 2011-11-16T11:36:37Z en_ZA
dc.date.available 2011-12-05T13:14:04Z
dc.date.issued 2011-12 en_ZA
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/17948 en_ZA
dc.description Thesis (LLD )--Stellenbosch University, 2011. en_ZA
dc.description.abstract ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Affirmative action with its wide array of manifestations, ranging from BEE (Black Economic Empowerment) to special measures within the Public Procurement sector, was intended to aid South Africa in redressing past patterns of disadvantage and realising a more equal society and economic dispensation. Whether the present policy has achieved this goal or is capable of doing so has been the subject of much controversy. The aim of my thesis is to rethink the justifications and limits of the current race-based affirmative action policy of South Africa in view of current debates, in which both its potential as a tool for eradicating inequality at the individual and systemic levels and the constitutionality and viability of different policy options are contested. In my thesis, a range of conceptual and theoretical tools are employed which are not only derived from the constitutional law literature, but also from jurisprudence, moral philosophy and political theory. Compensatory and distributive theories of justice are analysed and juxtaposed to each other, as are substantive and remedial conceptions of constitutional equality and recognition-based and redistributive notions of politics. Throughout, my focus is on the perspectives that these theories can bring to bear on the justifications and limits of affirmative action. It is also asked whether a re-crafted affirmative action policy would not be better able to reach the intended goals. With this end in mind, alternative affirmative action policies are analysed, namely, a class-based affirmative action policy which uses socio-economic standing as a measure for identifying beneficiaries and an affirmative action policy based on Sen‘s capability approach. The thesis also contains a comparative analysis of the affirmative action policies of Malaysia, Brazil and India. The aim of this study is to ascertain whether there are any valuable lessons to be learnt from their respective successes and failures. It is argued that affirmative action as currently applied has an assortment of negative consequences, ranging from stigmatization of beneficiaries as incapable individuals, the perpetuation of racial division and a detrimental impact on the South African economy as a result of a loss in efficiency. These issues could possibly be better addressed if the specific beneficiaries of affirmative action are rethought. In this regard, it is suggested that, if a class-based affirmative action policy is thought to be too radical, South Africa should follow India‘s example of excluding the ―creamy layer‖ from the current affirmative action beneficiaries. This should ensure that affirmative action benefits are not continually distributed and redistributed to the same individuals, whilst also ensuring that a wider range of individuals do in fact benefit. However, it must be borne in mind that transformation will always be stifled if educational resources and policies do not keep up with social and political policies. en_ZA
dc.description.abstract AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Regstellende aksie met sy wye reeks manifestasies, wat strek van SEB (Swart Ekonomiese Bemagtiging) tot spesiale maatreëls in die voorkeurverkrygingsektor, is oorspronklik ingestel om 'n meer gelyke samelewing en ekonomiese verspreiding te verseker. Of die huidige regstellende aksiebeleid wel hierdie doel bereik het of in staat is om dit te bereik, is egter die onderwerp van heelwat kontroversie. Die doel van hierdie studie is om die regverdigings en beperkings van die huidige rasgebaseerde regstellende aksie beleid van Suid Afrika te heroorweeg in die lig van debatte waarin beide sy potensiaal as hulpmiddel vir die uitskakeling van ongelykheid op individuele en sistemiese vlakke en die grondwetlikheid en lewensvatbaarheid van verskillende beleidsopsies, in geskil gestel word. Die studie maak gebruik van 'n reeks konseptuele en teoretiese hulpmiddels wat nie net vanuit die staatsregtelike literatuur afgelei word nie, maar ook vanuit jurisprudensie, morele filosofie en politieke teorie. Kompenserende geregtigheid ("compensatory justice") en verdelende geregtigheid ("distributive justice") word geanaliseer en naas mekaar gestel, sowel as substantiewe en remediële opvattings van konstitusionele gelykheid en erkenning-gebaseerde en herverdelende opvattings van politiek. Die fokus strek deurentyd op die perspektiewe wat hierdie teorieë kan bied met betrekking tot die regverdigings en beperkings van regstellende aksie. Dit word ook bevraagteken of dit nie moontlik is om die regstellende aksie beleid op so 'n manier te verander binne die raamwerk van die bogenoemde retoriek dat dit 'n groter kans staan om sy bedoelde uitkomste te bereik nie. Met hierdie doel in gedagte word alternatiewe vorme van regstellende aksie beleid, naamlik klasgebaseerde regstellende aksie en 'n beleid gebaseer op Sen se "capability" benadering, geanaliseer. Naas hierdie teoretiese raamwerk word daar ook ‗n regsvergelykende studie gevolg deur ag te slaan op die regstellende aksie beleide van Maleisië, Brasilië en Indië. Die uiteindelike doel hiervan is om vas te stel of daar enige waardevolle lesse te leer is uit hierdie nasies se welslae en mislukkings. Die studie argumenteer dat die regstellende aksie beleid soos wat dit tans toegepas word 'n wye reeks negatiewe gevolge het, wat strek van stigmatisering van begunstigdes as onbekwame individue, tot die voortbestaan van rasse verdeeldheid en die nadelige impak op die Suid Afrikaanse ekonomie as gevolg van die verlies aan doeltreffendheid. Hierdie kwessies kan moontlik beter aangespreek word indien die spesifieke groep begunstigdes herbedink word. In hierdie verband word daar voorgestel dat, indien 'n klasgebaseerde regstellende aksie beleid as te drasties gesien word, Suid Afrika dit moet oorweeg om Indië se voorbeeld te volg en die "romerige laag" ("creamy layer") van die groep regstellende aksie begunstigdes uit te sluit. Dit behoort te verseker dat regstellende aksie voordele nie deurentyd aan dieselfde individue verdeel en herverdeel word nie, en dat 'n groter groep individue daarby baat. Dit moet egter in gedagte gehou word dat transformasie altyd belemmer sal word indien opvoedkundige bronne en beleid nie tred hou met sosiale en politieke beleid nie. en_ZA
dc.format.extent ix, 212 p.
dc.language.iso en_ZA en_ZA
dc.publisher Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University en_ZA
dc.subject Affirmative action en_ZA
dc.subject Equality -- South Africa en_ZA
dc.subject Justice en_ZA
dc.subject Constitution en_ZA
dc.subject.lcsh Affirmative action programs -- Law and legislation -- South Africa en_ZA
dc.subject.other Public Law en_ZA
dc.title The justifications and limits of affirmative action : a jurisprudential and legal critique en_ZA
dc.type Thesis
dc.rights.holder Stellenbosch University


Files in this item

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show simple item record