Most top managers still whites - report

Most top managers still whites - report

2014-04-10 05:30

Johannesburg - Less than 20% of South Africa's top management positions are occupied by black Africans, according to the 14th Commission for Employment Equity (CEE) report.

Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant unveiled the report in Sandton on Wednesday.

The report found a "staggered and inconsistent" pattern in the promotion of designated groups to top management.

Top management

The 2013 results showed 19.8% of workers at this level were black, down from 20.3% in 2009.

Whites dominated top management positions at 62.7%, while Indians constituted 8.3%, coloureds 5.1% and foreign nationals accounted for 4.1%.

This was against the backdrop of blacks representing 75% of the economically active population of the country, whereas whites represented 10.8%.

Gender equity

In terms of gender, 79.4% of top management posts were held by men. Only 1.5% of these positions were held by people with disabilities.

The report showed the raw data indicated that there were more women in top management in numerical terms (4 646) than the total number of blacks at this level (4 464).

The report showed that whites were particularly dominant in top management positions in the Western Cape, with 62% held by white men and 12.7% held by white women.

In the same province, 8.3% of top management jobs were held by coloured men and 4.4% by coloured women.

The highest percentage of black men in top jobs was in the North West at 42.5%, and black women top managers were most represented in the Free State at 15.4%.

Senior management positions

Nationally, whites occupied 57% of senior management positions, blacks occupied just over 23%, Indians constituted 10%, and coloureds accounted for 7%. The remaining 3% were foreign nationals.

Thirty percent of workers at this level were women, and only 1.2% of senior managers had a disability.

Professionally qualified

In the professionally qualified category, 40.2% were white, 38.4 were black, 9.4 were coloured, 9.4 were Indian, and 2.5% were foreign nationals. The gender split was 43.1% women against 56.9% men.

Oliphant said South Africa introduced employment equity legislation to address racial exclusion in the workplace.

"It may sound nasty but the highest positions for most black people, particularly Africans, back then would have been 'head garden boy' and 'head tea girl'.

Report is flawed

Responding to the report, the Solidarity Research Institute (SRI) said it was riddled with errors.

Researcher Dirk Groenewald said the report was largely focused on top management level, even though this level represented less than half a percent of the total number of workers covered by the report.

"By not considering factors like the pool of suit ably qualified individuals, economic conditions and dynamics of business sizes, the CEE keeps using an irrational and unsuitable yardstick to measure the extent of racial transformation in the labour market," he said.

'Apartheid-based race classifications'

Meanwhile, the AHi in a statement on Wednesday said draft employment equity regulations are based on “apartheid-based race classifications”, warning that is could intensify social tensions.

It said that focusing on numerical targets will not achieve transformation, adding that a rigid application of the proposed regulations is discriminatory and unconstitutional.
"What we now need more than ever is a pro-business policy environment and a combined government and private sector effort to transfer skills and knowledge to young South Africans regardless of race."

Draft employment equity regulations were published for public comment earlier this year.

Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille branded as "absurd" and said it would entrench racial divisions rather than help overcome apartheid's legacy.

 - Sapa with Fin24