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ANC statement on release of 17th Employment Equity Report

10 May 2017

The African National Congress notes the release of the 17th Employment Equity Report by the Minister of Labour, Comrade Mildred Oliphant, yesterday, 9 May 2017. Coming a day before the country marks the 23rd anniversary of the inauguration of South Africa's first democratically elected President, Comrade Nelson Mandela, on the 10th May 1994, the report paints a picture of persistent and deep rooted inequalities perpetrated by some elements who remain hostile to the South Africa's transformation project.

That almost 70% of management positions in the private sector continue to be occupied by whites with only 14% held by Africans, flies in the face of the call made by Comrade Mandela that "None of us acting alone can achieve success. We must therefore act together as a united people for national reconciliation, for nation building, for the birth of a new world". Resistance and blatant disregard of the interventions introduced by the ANC led government to drive redress, transformation and equity in the workplace is a stark indicator of how some amongst us remain contemptuous of the aspirations of the Black majority and Africans in particular. It is further a rejection of efforts of our constitutional commitment to "Heal the divisions of the past…improve the quality of life of all citizens and free the potential of each person". The South African majority enjoys political freedom which daily is being proven hollow without concomitant economic freedom, justice and redress.

The ANC calls on government to demonstrate greater urgency and decisiveness in dealing with errant employers resistant to change. Compliance with employment equity and affirmative action legislation is not an 'optional extra' for companies operating in South Africa, but an imperative. It is clear that it cannot be left up to capital to 'self-correct' or 'self-regulate'. History, and this EE report has shown, that many corporates lay lip service to racial and gender transformation of their management structures.

The quest for radical economic transformation demands that the current exclusionary economic order which perpetuates inequality, social instability and uncertainty must be uprooted and dismantled. All levers of state power must be utilized to effect transformation including amongst them review of current legislation which may be lenient on such employers. We must also consider greater consequence management beyond fining for non-compliance to include judicial action for behavior which is contrary to the spirit of the Constitution which has as one of its fundamental values the achievement of equality.

Government must also name and shame those companies who are disdainful to our transformative agenda and use its resources, including its purchasing power, to enforce compliance. 23 years since the inauguration of South Africa's first democratically elected President we cannot continue buffering the anger of the black majority against the actions of an unrepentant and stubborn ruling class intent on protecting white privilege at the expense of national reconciliation, nation building and the attainment of equality and opportunity for all people of South Africa.

Issued by the African National Congress

Zizi Kodwa 082 330 4910
National Spokesperson
Khusela Sangoni 072 854 5707
National Communications Manager