Which Country Has Successfully Implemented the Policy of Affirmative Action and Why Did It Succeed?

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IMPLEMENTING AFFIRMATIVE ACTION
IN NAMIBIA
A summarised guide to the Affirmative
Action (Employment) Act (Act 29 of 1998)
published and distributed by
Namibia Institute for Democracy

Updated 3rd Edition
© April 2000
All rights reserved

Contents by Dr.J.W.F. van Rooyen

NAMIBIA INSTITUTE FOR DEMOCRACY
Namibia Institute for Democracy
53 Independence Avenue
P.O. Box 11956,
Windhoek, Namibia
Tel: (061) 229117/8
Fax: (061) 229119
E-mail: nid@mweb.com.na
http://www/iwwn.com.na/nid

1

FOREWORD
The writers of the Namibian Constitution perceived a need for affirmative action as a necessary condition for bringing about change in a previously discriminatory society. Therefore Article 23(2) addresses the issue of affirmative action by stating that nothing contained in Article 10 of the Constitution shall prevent Parliament from enacting legislation providing directly or indirectly for the advancement of persons within Namibia who have been socially, economically or educationally disadvantaged by past discriminatory laws and practices. It similarly provides for the implementation of policies and programmes aimed at redressing imbalances in the Namibian society arising out of this unfortunate historic situation.

The Government of Namibia has, since then, frequently expressed its concern about the high rate of unemployment of previously disadvantaged communities, skewed income distribution and other human resources related shortcomings. The implementation of the Labour Act (Act 6 of 1992), was an important attempt to remedy the situation. A further major step forward has been the promulgation of the Affirmative Action (Employment) Act (Act 29 of 1998) which outlines measures that relevant employers are required to adhere to in order to ensure that persons in designated groups enjoy equal opportunities and are fairly represented in the various positions of employment.

In order to ensure the successful implementation of these measures it is of the utmost importance that the main role players (i.e., employers, employees and trade unions) be orientated concerning the nature of the legislation. The Namibia Institute for Democracy is of the opinion that the process can be purposefully facilitated through providing appropriate education and training aids to the role players regarding the basic provisions of the Act.

This booklet, which has been compiled with the kind assistance and inputs of various organisations, including H&E Labour Consultants (the main compilers of the text), the Ministry of Labour and the Namibian Employers' Federation, is aimed at meaningfully assisting such orientation, education and training. The NID is convinced that the booklet will not only offer practical insight and guidance for the implementation of affirmative action in Namibia, but will also encourage informed participation in the tripartite industrial relations system. It will thereby assist in the promotion of equitable, stable labour practices in the interest of sustained development and optimum utilization of our valuable human resources.

Theunis Keulder
Executive Director
NAMIBIA INSTITUTE FOR DEMOCRACY
Windhoek, 1 March 1999

i

FOREWORD TO THE UPDATED
THIRD EDITION
The updated third edition of this booklet has been occasioned by the fact that all copies of the previous two editions have been depleted. That is indicative of the popular demand for a publication of this nature as a reader-friendly aid for the effective implementation of affirmative action in Namibia. Feedback obtained from various quarters confirms the relevance of the booklet's contents not only to employers but, indeed, to all the role players involved, especially human resources practitioners, managers, supervisors, unionists, shop stewards, employees and officials of the public service.

The Namibia Institute for Democracy is grateful to have been instrumental in the booklet's publication, thus contributing towards the quest for a more...
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