/ 17 February 2010

Labour Dept: ‘White people in general are fine’

White South Africans are generally the biggest beneficiaries of recruitment and promotion in the workplace, the Labour Department’s director general said in Pretoria on Tuesday.

“White people in general are fine. I want to debunk the myth that there is no future for whites … they are benefiting. What is this notion that they are rejected, losing jobs and that some are even going abroad?” Jimmy Manyi said in a public lecture at the Tshwane University of Technology.

The lecture by Manyi, also the president of the Black Management Forum, was about “overcoming hurdles that prevent transformation from being fully implemented in the workplace”.

The reason why black South Africans were not advancing was because companies were deliberately rejecting and ignoring them, Manyi told a packed auditorium.

Companies cited the education system, skills shortage and skills mismatch in a bid to exclude black people.

“We have people in the workplace that are overlooked … Let’s recognise people’s potential and allow them integration.”

‘It’s going to happen’
Speaking to journalists after the lecture, Manyi was adamant that legislation will be passed this year to ensure companies comply with employment equity policy.

“It’s going through parliamentary processes … but this year it’s going to happen,” he said.

“Responding to non-compliant companies has been very slow. They should be given fines on the spot.”

Companies found to have broken employment equity law would face “heavy fines” amounting to 10% of turnover, and would be named and shamed.

Manyi said many people still didn’t understand what employment equity was about.

“It is the fastest way to ensure that social justice is actualised … we can only achieve it when everyone in the country feels at home. Africans don’t feel that way.”

According to the SA Labour Guide, employment equity is intended to eliminate discrimination and achieve equitable representation of employees from designated groups in the workplace.

Manyi called for the sacking of CEOs that had not embraced transformation, saying they had no vision.

“They are driving the economy down by being racially selective … employment equity positions you as a company.” — Sapa