Apartheid has had long-lasting effects on the economic conditions in South Africa. It has affected the ability of the previously discriminated groups, in this case people of color, to achieve any form of upward social mobility. The white population holds majority of the wealth in a country that is predominantly black. To address issues of inequality the South African government introduced Black Economic Empowerment, a program seeking to redress poverty, especially amongst the black community. Initially the program was geared towards business management and ownership amongst the black population but changed to include human resource development and employment equity. This study uses three ordinary least squares regression models to determine the impact of black economic empowerment on the wage gap but also education and the job opportunities as they all inter-relate. The result of this study reveals there has been no consistent change over time. The wage gap is still exceptionally high between blacks and whites, with blacks remaining in an inferior position. Using examples of similar programs in Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Nigeria, education is a common theme in affirmative action programs that is lacking in South Africa. Therefore in order to achieve greater success the program needs to place more emphasis on the role of education in economic advancement.
Includes bibliographical references.