Equity report is flawed - union

Apr 19 2013 15:33

Johannesburg - The Commission for Employment Equity's (CEE's) latest report contains misrepresentations about transformation in the labour market, trade union Solidarity said on Friday.

Solidarity's research institute, SRI, believed the errors were the same as those made in previous years.

"[It] repeats... errors and misrepresentations of data that the SRI has pointed out in previous years," researcher Paul Joubert said.

The CEE had used race as the only yardstick to measure transformation within the economically active population and ignored other factors.

This approach was not only extremely one-sided, but also not aligned to Section 42 of the Employment Equity Act, he said.

"As in the past, the CEE also focuses mainly on slow racial transformation at the top management level, even though the 52 611 people at this level represent less than 1% of the total number of employees covered by the report."

On Thursday, the CEE released its 13th edition report on transformation in the workplace which showed that whites still dominated top positions in the workplace.

EE figures

The report showed whites constituted 72.6% of top management positions in the country last year, down from 81.5% in 2002.

The report reflects the public and private sectors.

Commission chair Loyiso Mzisi Mbabane handed the report to Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant at a Transformation Indaba in Boksburg, on the East Rand.

  • Blacks occupied 12.3% of top management positions in 2012, compared to 10% in 2002.
  • Coloureds occupied 4.6% of top management positions in 2012, compared to 3.4% in 2002; and
  • Indians 7.3%, from 5%.

The number of foreigners in top management positions in 2012 was 3.1%, compared to zero in 2002. However, this was because the labour department started collecting this data only in 2006.

Mbabane expressed disappointment at the levels of transformation.

"It is unacceptable. This is not what you would expect, especially because we have a law," he said.

The report was compiled by the EEC using millions of employment equity reports from the public sector and private companies across all sectors of the South African economy.

The gender gap

It also showed that men continued to dominate top management, although their representation at this level dropped by 6.1%, from 86.2% in 2002 to 80.1 in 2012.

Female representation at top management rose by 6.1%, from 13.7% in 2002 to 19.8% in 2012.

Mbabane said it was disappointing that the percentage of women in top management had increased from 13.7% in 2002 to 21.6% in 2006, before dropping back to 19.8% in 2012.

  • The report further showed that blacks occupied 10.8% of senior management positions in 2002. This figure had risen to 18.4% in 2012.
  • Whites occupied 77.9% of senior management positions in 2002. A decade later this declined to 62.4%.
  • Coloureds held 5.1% of senior management positions in 2002 and 7.1% in 2012.
  • Indian representation in senior management stood at 6.3% in 2002 and surged to 9.5% in 2012.

Oliphant told the conference the policy to implement employment equity in the workplace would stay.

"There are those who are calling for a sunset clause on employment equity," she said.

"To make this call now is mischievous at best or at worst a callous disregard of history and its negative ramifications that will be felt way beyond the two decades of freedom."

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