EE report sparks debate

Black Business Council's Sandile Zungu comments on the barely-transformed corporate South Africa.

Zico chairperson and Black Business Council General Secretary Sandile Zungu. Picture: Supplied

The department of Labour's 2012/2013 Commission for Employment Equity Report has sparked debate from all quarters regarding transformation in corporate South Africa.

The report was released on Friday.

Black Business Council Secretary General and Executive Chairperson of Zungu Investments Company Ltd Sandile Zungu spoke to Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk's Stephen Grootes about employment equity (EE) and the way forward.

The report, designed to track the progress made in increasing employment representation of black people, women and people with disabilities, illustrated that Africans occupied 12.3 percent of top management positions in South Africa, a decline from 2010's 12.7 percent.

White South Africans occupied 72.6 percent in 2012, down from 2010's 73.1 percent.

In 2002, white South Africans occupied 81.5 percent of top management positions in the country.

Coloureds have seen no movement, remaining at 4.6 percent.

Indians in top management positions stands at 7.3 percent, an increase from 2010's 6.8 percent.

Finally, foreign nationals account for 3.1 percent of top management positions, an increase from 2010's 2.9 percent.

Although slight and slow, there does seem to be a decline in the actual percentage of white South Africans in top management, but they continue to maintain a two-thirds majority.

Zungu weighed in on the discussion, arguing economic transformation would not meet its true potential if EE is not properly taught, implemented and adhered to.

"We need to ask ourselves, are we preaching employment equity correctly, as an economic imperative?"

"If we preach it as an imperative, then you immediately link transformation and economic outcomes. You'll then begin to appreciate that it is actually incorrect that 75 percent of South Africa's population, which is African, is being overlooked when it comes to management development."

Zungu added that implementing stronger laws was a moot point.

Rather, examples need to be made of companies that seek loopholes in fulfilling EE requirements, he said.

He said there are enough punitive measures in place.

"There is possibly a lack of good examples being set on those that are not meeting the requirements to be punished appropriately."

Zungu argued that in order for South Africans to be proud of the country they fought for, true economic transformation must be attained.

The transformative process is taking longer than expected and Zungu attributes this to the lack of trust and opportunities for black graduates.

"There are black graduates - universities, technicons, FET's are delivering these in their numbers, every year. Give them a chance, support them, be patient with them and they will deliver the best [service] that you need."

Zungu continued with a word of advice to white corporate South Africa.

"Stop looking at yourself as a protector of white interests. Stop looking at yourselves in white corporate South Africa as a provider of employment for white graduates only. Look at yourself as critical to the development of the economy holistically."