Johannesburg - The demographics of upper management in most South African parastatals do not reflect those of the country, according to the latest South Africa Survey, published by the South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) in Johannesburg this week.
This was in spite of the government's demand that private sector companies conform to employment equity targets, the SAIRR said on Wednesday.
The data - sourced from a parliamentary question - shows that at electricity parastatal Eskom, only a third of its 21 top management members are black, a third Indian or Coloured, and a third white.
Nearly half (48%) of the 388 members of senior management are white. About 30% are black, 6% Coloured and 16% Indian, according to the SAIRR's survey.
Of the 407 members of the management of arms parastatal Denel, 10% are black, 5% Coloured, 8% Indian, and 77% white.
Of the 102 members of the top management of logistics parastatal Transnet, 41% are black, 6% Coloured, 21% Indian, and 32% white.
Of the 495 members of senior management at Transnet, 39% are black, 10% Coloured, 19% Indian, and 33% white.
"There are only three parastatals where Africans (blacks) make up 50% or more of management," the SAIRR noted.
"These are South African Airways (Africans account for 50% of management), the South African Forestry Company Limited (67%), and South African Express (67%)."
The department of labour announced in December 2010 that proposed amendments to the Employment Equity Act could see employers who contravene the act by not submitting employment equity plans or by failing to ensure that their staffing component accurately reflects the demographics of the country, be fined up to 10% of turnover.
The maximum fine that can be imposed is R900 000. Marius Roodt, a researcher at the SAIRR, said that private companies could not be expected to comply with the Employment Equity Act when parastatals failed to do so.
"This is a reflection of the dire skills shortage in the country. Companies, and indeed parastatals, have to take on skilled personnel, no matter what the colour of their skin is," Roodt said.
He said the government was pursuing "a risky course" in planning on implementing even heavier fines for companies that did not comply with employment equity laws.
"These laws will only scare off investment in SA, and deter South African companies from expanding."