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

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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
53 Independence Avenue
P.O. Box 11956,
Windhoek, Namibia
Tel: (061) 229117/8
Fax: (061) 229119
E-mail: nid@mweb.com.na


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...
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