The heroic achievement of Nelson Mandela was to end apartheid‘s evil racial legal categorisations and associated injustice in South Africa, right?

Alas not:

The idea of defining and rewarding citizens by race continued. The argument was that drastic measures were needed to help the mass of people who had lost out under apartheid to catch up.

This required wholesale ‘positive discrimination’ based on apartheid’s own categories, such as the Black (sic) Economic Empowerment Act (2003):

“Black people” is a generic term which means Black Africans, Coloureds and Indians.

If South Africa’s firms do not now discriminate on the basis of skin colour as required by such laws, the state imposes brutish penalties:

[M]aximum fines for any failure to meet specified racial targets will start, for a first contravention, either at R1.5m or 2% of annual turnover, whichever amount is the greater. For a fifth similar contravention within three years, maximum fines will be either R2.7m or 10% of annual turnover, whichever is the larger

What this means in practice is a corrupt bureaucracy that allows the ANC and SA Communist Party ruling elites at every level to reward their friends.

Worse even than that, it also means that in South Africa the colour of your skin is by law far more important than mere human merit. Astute South African intellectual R W Johnson points out that both the former liberal opposition party in South Africa and the Communist tendency have succumbed to this cynicism:

In contemporary South Africa skin colour trumps merit just as it did under apartheid. This dissociation of merit from achievement has catastrophic effects … in a country that is part of an international world, which has to compete with multiple rivals, such a policy is virtually suicidal.

Indeed. In 2012 as foreign investment elsewhere in Africa boomed, South Africa attracted a pitiful $4.6 billion, 24 percent down on the previous year. Any sane foreign investor interested in Africa will take one look at this edifice of folly, realise that a new business is compelled by law to employ people who may be incompetent, and go somewhere else.

And, of course, we have echoes of this perversity here in the UK too via all those Ethnic Diversity Questionnaires…

My latest piece for Commentator. Read the whole thing.