n Journal of Public Administration - Affirmative Action in South Africa : from targets to empowerment

Special issue 1
  • ISSN : 0036-0767



Representative bureaucracy, together with addressing inequalities, is the foundation of the public service reform of affirmative action policies in South Africa. Currently, affirmative action policies focus on passive representation and targets. However, the discourse on affirmative action appears to be concerned with the language of empowerment and therefore diverges from the original policy language. This article analyses the Personnel and Salary Information System (PERSAL) data from 1995 to 2008 to assess where the public service of South Africa stands in attaining the targets set in affirmative action policy. The article concludes that the language of representative bureaucracy underpins the policies. However, the spirit of these affirmative action policies, which could in terms of the discourse on affirmative action, can be seen to be the move to empowerment, perhaps through active representation.

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