'Whites need not apply'

Feb 01 2013 07:10
A Fin24 user tells how he was forced to leave the country because of discriminatory practices. He writes:

I've been unemployed in South Africa for over a year and I was registered by a number of recruitment agencies and sent my applications to various companies via popular job websites.

Unfortunately,I probably got three interviews within a year and decided my financial future and profession would be more sucessful in another country.

My story begins as an intern at a major retail company working in the IT sector. After completing my international certificate, I was permanently employed.

I was on the top of the world and did not see it as just a job, but rather a career. From there it went downwards. The rising fuel prices, inflation, cost of living and recession periods started to clench its teeth deeper into my salary.

Yet this was not the issue discussed here, the issue is the unreasonable hours I had to work and getting paid very little (or not at all) for overtime.

"Why are you complaining for a few hours of overtime?"

Because having to sit four stories underground, in a restricted area with recycled air, having to stare at a computer screen for 24-50 hours straight without sleep (you weren't allowed to leave for rest until the job was done) and still have to drive 50km home in your sleep-deprived state is a reason to be a little upset... but here is the kicker, doing all that WITHOUT getting paid overtime.

You are probably thinking: "NO WAYS! I don't work for free, I wouldn't do that if I wasn't going to get paid overtime", and you are right.

Since no company car is provided to me, no overtime paid, the last choice (as stated in the labour law) was to take the accumulated hours worked  overtime to get some well deserved sleep.


The attitude of employers are unfortunately such that, given the unemployment rate, if you aren't happy with your job or salary "there are plenty of people at the door who will be".

You as an employee in SA are dispensible. Hell, they even state in the Jan 2013 issue of FHM magazine "Count yourself lucky you have a job, because of cheap labour, you are dispensible and replaceable".

After I left the company, I was unemployed for just over a year. The interviews I went to either wanted very high qualifications and wanted to pay a meagre salary (because as stated, if you don't want it there are plenty who do), or the grim reality, I didn't get the job because I am the wrong skin colour.

Yes, I am white.

Because of affirmative action (which in South Africa means "Ensuring the MAJORITY will get employment first while the MINORITY will have to look elsewhere" whereas the rest of the world it means the minority will get work from the majority) and BEE, the jobs would rather be given to a person of colour rather than a white person.

"You are internationally qualified and have work experience? Great! too bad you are white. We're rather going to give the job to this African man who doesn't have St 8 to his name". This sounds harsh, but its the ugly truth.

How many job advertisments have you seen where it stated "Whites need not apply"? It's quite funny how they can state that, but God forbid if a company advertised "Blacks need not apply". All hell would break loose.

It is for this reason I decided to leave SA and move to a country which would welcome me with open arms.

I am pleased to say I'm writing this sitting behind my desk and sipping my coffee within my own little company, laughing as I read the news over there about rising electricity prices, fuel prices, government corruption and unemployment.

SA is complaining about a brain drain? Of course, before applying for a job, never mind qualifications and years of work experience, first ask yourself: "Am I the right skin colour?"

 - Fin24

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employment  |  myfin24



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