“I’m white and ‘m being persecuted for the sins of the fathers”

“I’m white and I’m being persecuted for the sins of the fathers”

Response: by Keith Levenstein, CEO EconoBEE, 15th September 2006

No, you are not being persecuted for the sins of the fathers. You, maybe through no fault of your own, have had an unfair advantage over black people in similar positions. The sins of the fathers ensured you had an education. It ensured them highly paid jobs and good businesses. In summary the fathers enriched themselves via apartheid at the expense of others (black people).

The sins of the fathers have ensured that you now have more assets, more value in the economy, more jobs etc. When apartheid ended the white people owned 95% of the economy, due to no other reason than apartheid. While people today still own 90% of the economy and 90% of the best jobs, as a direct result of the historical situation. Since white people make up 10% or so of the population, this does seem like a very unfair situation. It’s much like running a 100m race where white people are allowed to start at the 90m mark. Under these circumstances, surely white people will win the race every time?

Business itself is a competition – the bigger and more assets the business has the more likely it is to continue growing and win the race for the order or tender over the smaller startup black business with no assets.

When looking at it this way it is not unfair to give black business a kick-start to help them get to the level of white business.

In any event the targets set for BBBEE are very lenient when compared to the huge head start white businesses have been given by apartheid. Even though black people make up 90% of the population, the targets in the codes ask for 25% of equity ownership. I.e. white people who make up 10% of the population should still retain 75% of economic ownership. Similarly, the target for directors and management say that the 10% of white people should have 50% of all top jobs (directorships), leaving the 90% of the population to only have 50% of the best jobs in town. It should be noted that theses are targets to be achieved over a 10 year period.

Yes, there are exceptions
Yes, it is a pity to have to legislate targets, but it is also a pity that there was and still is such an inequitable situation.

So, no, you are not be persecuted – you just cannot expect to continue to reap the benefits of your fathers ill-gained profits.

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