/ 25 January 2010

Solidarity wants Eskom’s affirmative action probed

Trade union Solidarity made an urgent appeal to Eskom to provide it with a detailed account of all the foreign employees appointed there.

This comes after programme Carte Blanche revealed that several black employees had been recruited from other countries with the aim of reaching affirmative action targets at the company.

According to Eskom employees who appeared on the programme, employees were recruited from countries such as the United States to work for Eskom. Some of these employees are convinced that they were only recruited because of their skin colour and to help Eskom reach its affirmative action targets.

They also claim that if they had known that that was the reason for their recruitment they would not have accepted the offer.

In terms of a campaign launched by Eskom a few years ago, the plan was to recruit nearly 5 000 new employees over a period of five years — about half of these had to be black women.

Solidarity maintains that if these allegations of appointments being abused for the sake of affirmative action targets are in fact true, the electricity supplier has dug a hole for itself.

“South Africa has extremely capable people with years of experience at Eskom, but who have lost their jobs there since 1994. By blindly chasing after targets and importing black employees simply because of their skin colour, Eskom is taking things too far,” Solidarity spokesperson Jaco Kleynhans.

“Not only were the employees lured to the company under false pretences, but Eskom also tried to reach targets in an illegal manner by simply appointing black employees to the positions. This approach does not benefit any South African, black or white, and the company should rather look at developing local expertise,” explained Kleynhans.

Kleynhans emphasised that Eskom’s attempt to reach affirmative action targets has completely destroyed the company’s efficiency. “If suitable, local black employees cannot be found to fill the positions, Eskom cannot ignore suitable white employees.

“After all, the original purpose of affirmative action is in no way achieved by appointing black foreigners and an urgent investigation should be launched into Eskom’s affirmative action appointments to determine who, by right, qualifies for the positions because the jobs were actually earmarked for local employees,” Kleynhans explained. — I-Net Bridge