More affirmative action needed – Cosatu

South Africa still needs more implementation of employment equity and affirmative action, Cosatu has said.

“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,” it said in a statement today.

The Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) was responding to the 12th edition of the annual report of the Commission for Employment Equity.

The report showed that, at top management, Africans were represented by an even smaller percentage than last year – 18.5%, compared to 18.8%.

Whites made up 65.4% of top management positions, a slight decline from 68.1% last year.

The decline was attributed to a small increase in the representation of coloureds from 3.9% to 4.8%, Indians from 6.1% to 7.5% and foreigners from 3.1% to 3.9%.

The figures were in contrast with 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 said the commission’s report confirmed that South Africa still had a long way to go in reversing the discrimination in employment inherited from the days of apartheid.

It said the report revealed gross under-representation of black people, women and people with disabilities in key areas of the labour force.

The gender balance also showed minimal progress, with males holding 80.9% of positions at the top level, and females just 19.1%.

People with disabilities held 1.9%, and even that contained the same racial imbalances.

At lower levels of the corporate ladder the picture was slightly better, but progress was still much too slow.

At senior management level, African representation rose from 18.1% to 21.8%. Coloureds increased from 6.1% to 7% and Indians from 8.2% to 9.6%.

However, white representation at senior management level declined from 65.2% to 59.1%.

“The 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 said.

– SAPA

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