The statement of the National Executive Committee of SAFTU
August 26, 2019
SAFTU rejects Mboweni’s economic strategy plan
August 30, 2019

SAFTU condemns snail’s pace of employment equity progress

The South African Federation of Trade Unions deplores the fact that 20 years after the passing the Employment Equity Act, the latest report of the Commission for Employment Equity (CEE) shows that South African employment is still far away from reflecting the country’s racial demographics.

In the private sector white men, who represent just 5.1% of the economically active population, plus white women who represent 3.9%, hold 66.5% of top management positions, 54.4% of senior managers and 37.4% of professionals. In comparison, Africans, who account for 78.8% of the economically active population, occupy only 15.1% of these top positions.

In comparison, among government employees, 72.23% of top managers, 69% of senior managers and 71.1% of the professionally qualified are black Africans.

Across the board, top and senior management remain male dominated. At top management level, 76.5% are male in 2018, with the number of women top managers increasing by just 1.5% from the 22% recorded in 2016. Among senior managers, 65.5% were male and 34.5% women.

This big difference between the public and private sectors, shows that transformation is entirely possible, but that most private companies have made no serious attempt to achieve similar results as have been achieved in the public service. They do not care about social transformation but purely about making profits. And the ANC government has done nothing force them to comply with the Act.

While SAFTU agrees with Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi’s comment that “Our country is not moving on transformation… It is clear that self-regulation is not working and that when certain groups are underrepresented it means there are talents and skills which are underutilised”, this is an understatement.

These figures reveal an outrageous national scandal, which provides further proof that political transformation has not been accompanied by social and economic transformation for the black majority. Economic apartheid remains.

This continued level of inequity, discrimination and racist attacks against black workers and women creates even more anger than they face already, with unemployment at 38.5% on the expanded definition that includes those who’ve given up finding employment, more than half of the country living in poverty and inequality that is not only the widest in the world but is also racially based inequality.

The wealth of the privileged white private sector as been created by the labour of the super-exploited black African workers, who occupy 75.5% of semi-skilled workers and 83.7% of the unskilled workforce.  

This report will take the country even closer to the precipice of a social explosions the already rocketing number of community and workplace protests and strikes. These are increasingly merging together in Total Shutdown campaigns.

The CEE report also exposes even more starkly the abject failure of the ANC government’s policies to bring about even the most minimal improvements in employment equity in the private sector, just as in all other areas in which the interests of the workers and the poor majority have been sacrificed in favour of the super-rich, mainly white and male elite who own the commanding heights of the economy.

The once-proud national liberation movement still makes empty promises of reform and transformation but have totally failed to turn world into deeds, preferring to adopt neoliberal capitalist policies, dictated by credit-rating agencies have only improved the very white monopoly capitalist class which they pretend to be fighting against.

Never has there been a greater need for a socialist economic programme to bring about real fundamental change in favour of the working-class majority. SAFTU is preparing a detailed response to the neoliberal economic policies in Tito Mboweni’s economic strategy document which has been warmly welcomed by the Democratic Alliance.