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The extent of affirmative action in the real estate industry within the Western Cape
Phillips, Alan Bevan
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South Africa is a country that encompasses numerous population groups and cultures. The country has been embroiled in controversy since the beginning of the 20th century, notably for its human rights violations and abuse of the majority of its people; namely Blacks, Coloureds and Indians. The ruling parties since its inception as the Union of South Africa in 1910, until the demise of the National Party government in 1994, has ensured bias to the White minority population group. This favouritism was brought about politically and legislatively to protect Whites, reserve jobs and ensure segregation for the various population groups that were considered unequal, as it favoured Whites only. The country's first democratic elections in 1994 brought about a change of political will that warranted appropriate action, in order to address the imbalances of the past, for all those who were historically, previously disadvantaged. Programmes of affirmative action were required to redress these imbalances and provide necessary opportunities. The vast majority of South Africans, namely Blacks, therefore needed employment, housing and recreational facilities as previously they were not afforded many prospects. The researcher wanted to establish the state of the Black residential property market in the Western Cape, including the prospects for Black estate agents. Accordingly, an understanding of the political background of the last century was required. In order to implement Affirmative Action programmes in the real estate industry, a basic understanding of Affirmative Action was essential. The tasks and duties of estate agents had to be clarified and the position of the real estate industry with regards to the various population groups in the Western Cape was also deemed crucial. The researcher accordingly designed a questionnaire in order to conduct a survey to test public perceptions and attitudes. The researcher also concluded interviews with executives and principals representing the real estate industry. A focus group was utilised to discuss the results of the survey and they provided the researcher with qualitative data. The researcher combined this secondary qualitative data with primary quantitative data in order to develop a model which would assist the industry and prospective Black estate agents. The author believes that this model would be able to substantially benefit all the stakeholders in the real estate industry. Furthermore, the researcher is of the opinion that if this model and the recommendations are implemented, the residential market for the Western Cape would evolve naturally and Black estate agents would be in demand.