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  |  COSATU Press Statements

COSATU response to CEE Report

12 September 2012

The 12th annual report of the Commission for Employment Equity (CEE) for 2011-12 confirms that South Africa is still a long way from reversing the discrimination in employment that we inherited from the days of apartheid.

We still do not have a workforce that reflects the demographic profile of the country and therefore COSATU insists that we still need the Employment Equity Act and affirmative action policies, and that they that must be enforced with greater urgency.

The report reveals what it rightly describes as the “gross under-representation” of black people‚ women and people with disabilities in key areas of the labour force”.

At the top management level Africans represented an even smaller percentage than last year - only 18.5%‚ compared with 18.8%. Meanwhile whites at 65.4% are only slightly down from 68.1%. This is due to small increase for Coloureds, at 4.8%, up from 3.9%, Indians at 7.5%, from 6.1%, and foreign nationals at 3.9%, from 3.1%.

This comes nowhere near the overall population profile of South Africa, in which Africans constitute 78.9% of the population, whites 9.6%, coloureds 9.1% and Indians 2.9%,

COSATU agrees with the commission that it is “a matter of grave concern” that Africans at this level remained “grossly underrepresented with the year-on-year decline”. Although whites accounted for the highest number of terminations at this level‚ they also accounted for the greatest number of recruitments and promotions.

The gender balance also shows minimal progress with males holding 80.9% of positions at this top level while females hold 19.1%.People with disabilities hold a minute 1.9% and even that contains the same racial imbalances.

At lower levels the picture is slightly better but progress is still much too slow. At senior management level African representation rose over the year to 21.8% from 18.1%‚ coloureds from 6.1% to 7% and Indians from 8.2% to 9.6%‚ while white representation declined from 65.2% to 59.1%.

Among professionals‚ African representation rose year on year from 24.1% to 36.3%‚ coloureds from 8.5% to 10.2% and Indians from 8.7% to 9.1%‚ while white representation declined from 57.2% to 42.3%.

Skilled technical Africans increased sharply‚ from 44.1% to 57%‚ while coloureds declined from 12.8% to 11.5%‚ Indians from 6.7% to 6.2% and whites from 35.6% to 24%.

As the commission noted however even at the levels where there are such positive trends, if current progression patterns continue, equitable representation would only be achieved “in the not so distant future”.

As COSATU in the Western Cape has already noted, theirs is the worst performing province in terms of race at nearly every occupational level and also the worst in relation to black women‚ even when taking the provincial demographics into account. The province had performed badly both in the public and private sector in respect of employing black people‚ both men and women.

The CEE report adds further ammunition to demolish the ludicrous assertion by former President FW de Klerk that “the main inequality divide in South Africa is no longer between blacks and whites, but between unionised and employed workers on the one hand, and unemployed on the other".

COSATU has already responded to the false notion of a divide between the employed and unemployed, and now has further proof that, as we said, “by far the biggest inequality is the gulf between a still mainly white and male capitalist class and its top executives, who form a small, rich minority, and an large overwhelming black working class majority, in which the employed and unemployed share poverty and share a common interest in building a far more equal society and economy".

Patrick Craven (National Spokesperson)
Congress of South African Trade Unions
110 Jorissen Cnr Simmonds Street

Tel: +27 11 339-4911 or Direct: +27 10 219-1339
Mobile: +27 82 821 7456
E-Mail: patrick@cosatu.org.za