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Cosatu: Equity figures a disgrace

Aug 04 2011 16:23 Sapa

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Pretoria - Trade union federation Cosatu on Thursday said figures that showed whites still occupy 73.1% of top management positions are a disgrace.

"It is a national disgrace that we have done so little after 17 years of democracy to reverse the racial imbalances we inherited from the days of apartheid," said Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven in a statement released on Thursday.

Craven was reacting to the Commission of Employment Equity's (CEE's) 11th annual report, which found that whites still occupy 73.1% of top management positions in the country.

The report, released on Wednesday, showed that although whites constitute 73.1% of top management, they make up only 12.1% of the economically active population.

Blacks make up 73.6% of that population, with 12.7% in top management.

In 2006, blacks constituted 11.3% of top management and whites 74.9%.

At a senior management level whites still dominate, holding 64.1% of those positions, the CEE said.

Blacks occupy 17.6% of senior management positions, coloureds 7% and Indians 9%.

The number of whites in senior management positions has dropped 6.8% since 2006, while the number of blacks has increased by 4.2%, Indians by 1.4% and coloureds by 1.2%.

Craven said the Employment Equity Act is "failing abysmally to transform the discrimination inherited from apartheid".

He accused most private sector employers of not submitting employment equity reports and failing to address the differences in earnings between whites and blacks.

"An average African man earns in the region of R2 400 per month, whilst an average white man earns around R19 000. The racial income gap is therefore roughly R16 800 among males.

"Most white women earn in the region of R9 600 per month, whereas most African women earn R1 200 per month. The racial income gap in monthly incomes among women is therefore R8 400. On average, white women also earn eight times more than their African counterparts," he said.

The ANC also urged business to "fully implement employment equity and affirmative action at the workplace".

ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said in a statement that the CEE report "reflects embarrassingly high statistical race disparities in South Africa" and that it "is an indictment on the business leaders for their failure to embrace progressive change in South Africa".

Earlier on Thursday, Business Unity South Africa (Busa) urged business to introduce effective human resource plans to help address the shortage of top level black managers.

"There is much work to be done at the top and senior management levels and plans must be put in place to ensure development of people at these levels," said Busa spokesperson Masego Lehihi.

She said it was "heartening" to see an increase in the number of women and black people employed at professionally qualified and skilled levels.

Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant on Wednesday expressed her disappointment at the slow pace of reform at top management, and urged that "drastic measures" be taken.

Lehihi said Busa supported the labour department's initiatives on employment equity issues, and that there had been a positive response from business.

"We will continue to encourage our members to consider replacing the retiring leadership with those who are underrepresented at the top of organisations," she said.

The Black Management Forum (BMF) found the report disappointing, said its managing director Nomhle Nkumbi-Ndopu.

"This report confirms what we have been saying about business in South Africa. Business is not serious about transformation," she said.

The report further justified the BMF's decision to part ways with Business Unity SA, she said. 

cosatu  |  employment equity
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