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IRR affirmative action comments ‘racist’

Cosatu says it’s unfair to blame the deaths of babies in Bloemhof on employment equity policies.

Cosatu says it’s unfair to blame the deaths of babies in Bloemhof on employment equity policies. Picture: Sapa.

CAPE TOWN - The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) says it's misleading and racist to blame affirmative action for service delivery failures, hitting out at the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) for its claim that the policy kills babies.

The IRR today released a statement claiming affirmative action policies are being used as a veil to conceal corruption and incompetence in the civil service.

It claimed when the wrong people are appointed to a position due to the policy, there are devastating consequences for the poor and vulnerable.

IRR CEO Frans Cronje said the Bloemhof water contamination fiasco is an example of where affirmative action has failed the poor.

"The Bloemhof council did not have the ability or capacity to supply clean water to its residents. You've got to ask what is it that allowed it to happen - that such incompetent people are appointed to those posts?"

His controversial statement has drawn criticism from Cosatu.

The federation's spokesperson Patrick Craven says this view is unfair.

"To try blame affirmative action for some of the problems we have in this country is to completely mislead people and,frankly,has a very racist tone to it."

Craven says the government should enforce the policy effectively.