The South African majority enjoys political freedom which is being proven hollow without concomitant economic freedom, justice and redress, the ruling African National Congress (ANC) said on Wednesday.
The ANC called on the government to demonstrate greater urgency and decisiveness in dealing with errant employers resistant to change.
The party was responding to the release on Tuesday of the 17th Employment Equity Report (EER) which shows that almost 70 percent of management positions in the private sector continue to be occupied by whites with only 14 percent held by blacks.
Black people, women and persons with disabilities remain severely under-represented in all aspects of the employment equity, according to the report.
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, the ANC said.
“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,” ANC national spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said.
The reporot has shown that many corporates lay lip service to racial and gender transformation of their management structures, said Kodwa.
Compliance with employment equity and affirmative action legislation is not an “optional extra” for companies operating in South Africa, but an imperative, Kodwa stressed.
“It is clear that it cannot be left up to capital to ‘self-correct’ or ‘self-regulate’,” he said.
The ANC has been pushing for radical economic transformation which demands that the current exclusionary economic order that perpetuates inequality, social instability and uncertainty must be uprooted and dismantled.
The party reportedly is considering greater consequence management beyond fining for non-compliance to include judicial action for behavior contrary to the spirit of the Constitution which puts the achievement of equality as one of its fundamental values.
The ANC also wants the government to name and shame those companies which are disdainful to the transformative agenda and use its resources, including its purchasing power, to enforce compliance.
“All levers of state power must be utilized to effect transformation including review of current legislation which may be lenient on such employers,” Kodwa said.
The EER was released a day before the country marks the 23rd anniversary of the inauguration of South Africa’s first democratically elected Presidente Nelson Mandela on May 10,1994.
Twenty-three years later, the ANC 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, Kodwa said. Enditem