I have no doubt that you got where you are through your ability, which is exactly as it should be.
I very much want blacks and all other races to succeed and take up positions in all levels of society in proportion with their numbers. For too long the NP [National Party] tried to do the genetically impossible – get the 5% to 10% of professionals out of less than 20% of the population. Their quota system wound them down like an ant trying to cross a floor covered with spilled treacle. Replacing it with yet another quota system based on a different set of numbers but ignoring training and merit is just as destructive, especially when combined with poor attitude (the “They owe me” syndrome that has held sway for so long). The raw numbers say one thing, but the necessary skills paint a different picture. Our distressing unemployment figures reflect the sad fact that most of our unemployed are near unemployable because of their lack of effective education and lack of opportunity to better it. This is compounded by diseases of grinding poverty, some of which, like childhood malnutrition, have impaired their ability to progress academically.
I agree with you that fronting is wrong and should be avoided. But when faced with the choice of being mugged into giving up shareholding for free to spoiled BEE fat cats, or losing their ability to do business, we shouldn’t be surprised if some choose to resist the unjust legislation.
During the apartheid regime companies found ways to successfully circumvent unjust job reservation legislation. (For example I know that construction companies made it possible for black employees to work as plant operators – a job that was strictly reserved for whites. Transport companies did the same for drivers – which was also forbidden under early apartheid laws. Lawyers found legal technicalities to get around unjust laws to defend the victims of apartheid, etc.) Would you say that they were also wrong to do so? Should they rather have meekly accepted the evil laws? If they had, where would we be now?
Passing even more draconian laws to defend ones that are already bad cannot be construed as justifiable. It is just one more step (a big one) towards a totalitarian state.
And by the way, BBBEE is not just voluntary – it is already a legal requirement. (Otherwise what do you make of the statement: “Certain companies feel as though they are not obliged to comply with BEE legislation, despite it being a legal requirement.”?) This legislation is aimed at adding a penalty to enforce its adherence. As such it will go hand in hand with enforcement of the BBBEE quotas.
It is also unrealistic to use statements like: ”a higher percentage of blacks were employed in lower management levels” and bemoan the fact that there are not enough black CEOs to justify this action. Everyone needs to start at the lower levels and build their useful capacity before advancing. In most instances they also require the necessary academic capacitation to advance to the top of their profession. You cannot short-circuit this process without unravelling the organisation. (Exceptional individuals can move more rapidly through the ranks, but even they need to learn the ropes along the way and cannot simply leapfrog to the top without destroying their own credibility and the functioning of the organisation.) Given our unfortunate history we started with very few blacks with adequate academic training to fill management positions. The tertiary education outflow has improved, but disappointingly slowly due to serious educational defects. Even where such skills are available, it is intrinsically unfair to hold back one and advance the other based on their colour. Not surprisingly, private businesses are not queuing up to commit suicide by prematurely advancing candidates who have yet to develop their skills and prove their worth. That is precisely what has gone wrong in the civil service – promoting managers to levels way above their experience and skills levels.