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Affirmative Action and Psychometric Tests use in the South African National Defense Force: Are they Complementary or Conflicting Forces? | Abstract
Journal of Defense Management

Journal of Defense Management
Open Access

ISSN: 2167-0374

44-7723-850004

Abstract

Affirmative Action and Psychometric Tests use in the South African National Defense Force: Are they Complementary or Conflicting Forces?

Makatipe Charles Kgosana

One of the legacies of apartheid is that South Africa (SA) is a country characterized by imbalances of distribution of opportunities and resources which permeates all spheres of society. The differences are mostly felt in educational and occupational environment and they still shape the wellbeing and future of the previously oppressed Black majority. The demise of apartheid regime meant that legislations and other mechanisms have to be invoked to address those imbalances. This need also permeated the Ministry of Defence, which was wholly controlled by the White minorities. One of the mechanisms put in place is Affirmative Action (AA) aimed at correcting the imbalances of the pasts by giving the Black majority an opportunity to advance and develop. Since not everyone can join the military and be promoted, the psychometric tests are used to select the candidates. However, the inferior quality of education and other factors that resulted from institutionalized discrimination makes it difficult for most Black candidates to meet the requirements. This extends to their ability to perform above the cut-off point on psychometric tests necessary for joining, promotions and attending high profile courses such as pilot course. The situation is aggravated by the bad reputation of psychometric tests in SA, making it difficult for some leaders to accept the result. Some perceive them as tools to frustrate processes such as AA, consequently suggesting the exclusion of psychometric tests in any selection processes. This study will use a descriptive literature discussion to articulate this challenge, its causes and recommendations to ameliorate it.

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