SA whites still dominate

Johannesburg – The South African government will amend the country’s Employment Equity Act to enable it to introduce legal consequences for companies that flout the law, in a bid to address the pervasive monopoly by whites of top management positions 16 years into democracy. According to the employment equity report 2009/10, white men and women continue to dominate top management positions in SA, with the retail, wholesale and motor sectors being singled out as the worst performers when it comes to transformation at a senior level. Overall transformation in all sectors of the economy, with the exception of the government, is regarded as too slow. Mpho Nkeli, the acting chairwoman of the Commission for Employment Equity (CEE), said the commission had redefined the name, shame and praise process, which will come into effect in 2011. The details were not yet publicly available; however, the aim was to make it more robust. Other changes to the act will include addressing issues of equal pay for equal work and another remedy was to give employment equity a distinct measure in tender processes, as employment equity is one of the worst-performing pillars of black economic empowerment (BEE). The newly formed President’s BEE Council will work on highlighting the poor progress on the act. Nkeli said while there had been a slight improvement from last year, government was committed to enforcing more stringent conditions to ensure that companies comply, highlighting the need to make it easier to prosecute, monitor and ensure compliance. The commission recommended that it needed to be investigated why there was resistance to progress and racism in the workplace. Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana said that he was “quite angry” about the report. “Actually I’m feeling quite angry that we still find ourselves in the same situation we were in ten years ago. “Our people, including myself, are running out of patience.” “It is a great pity that the country has to resort to tougher measures to drive transformation,” Nkeli said.

August 2010
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