Commission for Employment Equity

Posted by Transcend
Tuesday, 17 September 2013  |  Comments

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The Report will point to great progress at the lower levels, usually from the skilled level downwards. Whilst this is commendable, the progress registered is not “spilling over” into the senior and top management levels. There is no “flow-over” effect from the increasing numbers of Africans and Coloureds, in particular, at levels below senior management, into their representation at the senior management and top management level. So it is not like there is some long-term strategy to “build a strong base” at the bottom of the pyramid with a view to “ramping up” the representation at the apex later on. The “later on” is not happening, from the observation of the actual decline in the percentage of Africans in top management between 2010 and 2012. The “movement statistics” that have been alluded to also show no evidence of an effort to train more designated groups. Instead, the opposite is happening. The Report therefore refers to the “Deep Hole” phenomenon, whereby things get darker as one goes deeper.

The employment space in South Africa is also characterised by gender discrimination. The Report indicates that at all levels of management males outnumbered females. This is also a symptom of the Economically Active Population (EAP) where males continue to be dominant. We therefore have the South African Labour Force “ the Missing Women” phenomenon.

The Report also points to the “tripple jeopardy” that is suffered by black females with disabilities. The statistics indicate the present racial discrimination amongst people with disabilities. At the department the critical levels, white males dominated. Followed by white females and indians. At the bottom are the black females with disabilities.
There is still a great need for employment equity in South Africa. The challenge lies in the approach. The spirit of the EE
Act ought to be brought back. The “designated group” members who are now in senior management and top management have yet to flex their muscle. Their impact is not showing in terms of the trends that have just been alluded to.

We need transformational leaders and transformational management. The report is an indictment on the part of past and current leadership in all sectors, including Government. We need to go back to the drawing board and re-visit the fundamentals.

The leaders and managers who are committed to non-discrimination and employment equity are called upon to rise up to the challenge. The paradox is that as we tend towards more and more ‘empowerment’,
according to ‘scorecards’, we are getting less and less transformed in terms of substantive behaviours and practices. Transformational leadership behaviour and approaches, coupled with real organisational transformation interventions, are needed to address the new phenomenon of companies / organisations that are ‘empowered but not transformed’.

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