‘Affirmative action kills babies’

The IRR has blamed municipal incompetency on failed empowerment programmes.

People queue for water in the township of Boitumelong in Bloemhof on 29 May, 2014. Picture: Sapa.

JOHANNESBURG - The Institute of Race Relations (IRR) has released a statement saying affirmative action kills babies.

In the statement, it says race-based policies are being used as a veil to conceal corruption and incompetence and many vulnerable communities are paying a deadly price for this.

It cites the deaths of three babies in the Bloemhof Municipality blamed on contaminated drinking water as an example.

"The Bloemhof municipality 'lost its capacity' to maintain the sewer plant," the institute says. "People drank contaminated tap water and three babies died while scores were hospitalised.

"There is no doubt that the officials responsible for these deaths were appointed, at least in part, on grounds of race-based affirmative action and that a direct causal link therefore exists between the policy and the deaths."

The IRR says the policy is also behind other deaths in Limpopo and Gauteng.

"There can again be little doubt that affirmative action played a role in appointing the people responsible for those deaths."

The statement says "the truth lies in what no one is prepared to say", that people are appointed to positions because of their race even when they're unfit to hold them.

"Affirmative action cannot be mentioned because, even in the face of the deaths of children, to do so is to cross the barrier of political correctness forced on our country by the ideology of race-based empowerment."

The institute says it's time to scrap such policies given the damage they are causing to the poor and vulnerable, while creating a very small black elite that uses the control it wields for its own advantage.

As an alternative, the IRR suggests an Economic Empowerment for the Disadvantaged (EED) policy, which it says it's currently developing.

"This policy seeks to use socio-economic status to prioritise access to the building blocks of economic advancement such as education, employment, and entrepreneurship."