Cape Town – The Western Cape is the worst-performing province in terms of race and gender equity – in government and the private sector and at every job level.
The Commission for Employment Equity report, released on Tuesday, also said the Western Cape is performing poorly in the representation of black people, particularly Africans.
This comes as trade union Solidarity accuses Woolworths of discriminating against white job seekers.
Cosatu said it was not surprised by the report, which confirmed that workplaces were made unwelcoming for blacks by white cliques, with the tacit approval of white management.
The report, released by Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant in Parliament, includes 4 370 employment reports from large companies with more than 150 workers.
White men occupied 47.9 percent of senior management positions in the private sector in the Western Cape, compared with 11.2 percent for coloured men, 6 percent for African men and 3.9 percent for Indian men.
Gauteng’s private sector employs 39 percent white men in senior management, 13.9 percent African men, 6.8 percent Indian men and 3.6 percent coloured men.
The Western Cape government’s senior management was 32.7 percent white men, followed by 27.4 percent coloured men, 11.5 percent African men and 1.6 percent Indian men.
The cosy relations between many businesses and the provincial government are maintained to defend the privileges accrued under apartheid, and [to] keep the province separate from the rest of the country,” said Cosatu’s Tony Ehrenreich.
Zak Mbhele, spokesman for Premier Helen Zille, said Oliphant was “making a meal out of labelling” the province a poor performer in the report, including a suggestion that it was “resisting change”.
“The Western Cape will continue to implement the many strategies and interventions aimed at achieving ourEE targets. The reality is a dire shortage of skills and experience, with the private sector competing with government for skills and experience… ”
Asked whether Oliphant and the CCE could be accused of political point-scoring since the province was run by the DA, she and her staff emphatically denied this was the case.
Labour director-general Thembinkosi Mkalipi said employers reported the statistics online, and “nobody fiddled with the data”.
Oliphant said she would take up the matter with Zille.
Men of all races continue to dominate the workplace in all sectors and women continue to be under-represented, according to the report.
African women occupy 5.5 percent of top management positions, compared with their African male counterparts at 13 percent.
White women make up 10.2 percent of top management, Indian women 1.6 percent and coloured women 1.5 percent.
White men occupy 55.2 percent of top management positions nationally across all employment spheres, African men 13 percent, Indian men at 5.9 percent and coloured men 3.3 percent.
Oliphant said a lack of skills was still preventing black people from being employed at senior level.
The commission’s director of employment equity Ntsoaki Mameshela said that 14 years after the Employment Equity Act was first passed, the under-representation of African and coloured women was a concern.
The Business Women’s Association (BWA) said the figures confirmed its research and that the location of senior women decision makers was “really dismal”.
BWA’s Claire Mathonsi said legislated changes had meant nothing for women and a “radical mind shift” was needed.
Oliphant said the report showed there were still pockets of companies resisting change, but there were those, such as Woolworths, Nedbank and Albany bakeries, that were doing well.
She praised Woolworths, which is under fire over job adverts Solidarity said excluded whites. Woolworths said it employed people of all races but had an obligation to equity targets.
“We will not advance unless individuals, executives make real good decisions to transform the workplace,” said Mameshela.
But Dirk Hermann, Solidarity’s deputy chief executive, said if Woolworths applied its racial policy to make its labour force representative of SA’s racial demographics, then more than 3 000 coloureds and 400 Indians would have to leave the company, while it would currently have too few white employees.
Coloureds and Indians were in fact over-represented at all levels.
It would have to dismiss 3 420 coloured and 402 Indian employees to be consistent with its policy, and employ 935 white people.