Business still bars Africans

IT IS most encouraging that the Labour Department is considering employment equity legislation to make it easier to prosecute companies that flout the law.

IT IS most encouraging that the Labour Department is considering employment equity legislation to make it easier to prosecute companies that flout the law.

Having worked in the corporate sector for more than 13 years, I've observed and have experienced first hand the marginalisation that Africans experience.

The business community continues to reap the benefits of the new dispensation, while continuing to marginalise Africans. Post-1994 has seen many companies grow exponentially and record profits as a result of the new black government's policies. And 15 years on, we have the anachronistic situation where Africans, over 74percent of the economically active population, hold 13percent of top management positions and a meagre 17percent of senior management positions.

You wouldn't think you are in Africa if you looked at the racial composition at management and executive level of most companies. The fundamentals of business are the same the world over, but if you go to other countries, they retain local flavours, biases, eccentricities and culture . Not in South Africa where there's a dangerous and fallacious thinking that business and Africans are mutually exclusive.

Companies have more inclination for "non-whites" or minorities . The disproportionate number of minorities in senior positions attests to that fact. Business is merely taking short cuts. Minorities, though they were also oppressed and many are struggle icons, didn't bear the worst brunt of apartheid. Consequently, they had less-disrupted communities and better education opportunities.

This makes it easier for business to relate to and be comfortable with them. Or if you are an African, you have to speak impeccable English with an accent and are from a posh school. Foreign Africans are preferred to local ones.

Tlhware Monageng, Fourways

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