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Pretoria – There has been a slight increase in the representation of the black population in top management positions, according to the 13th edition of the Employment Equity annual report.

Chairperson of the Commission for Employment Equity Dr Loyiso Mbabane on Thursday handed over the annual report to Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant at the Department of Labour’s (DoL) inaugural Employment Equity and Transformation Indaba in Johannesburg.

According to the 2012 report, Blacks occupied 12.3 percent of top management positions in 2012, compared to 10 percent in 2002. While, Whites constituted 72.6 percent of top management positions in the country last year, down from 81.5 percent in 2002.

Coloureds occupied 4.6 percent of top management positions in 2012, compared to 3.4 percent in 2002; and In Indians 7.3 percent, from 5 percent.

The number of foreigners in top management positions in 2012 was 3.1 percent, compared to zero in 2002.

The report reflects the public and private sectors. A total of 23 312 reports were received and 22 012 were analysed for the 2012 reporting period.

Oliphant expressed concern on the low levels of blacks occupying management positions, saying that this must change.

She urged companies to adhere to the law and continue to report to the Commission.

The minister said the policy towards implementation of Employment Equity (EE) in the workplace is here to stay.

“There are those who are calling for a sunset clause on employment equity. To make this call now is mischievous at best or at worst a callous disregard of history and its negative ramifications that will be felt way beyond the two decades of freedom,” she said.

The Indaba’s objective is designed to place back in the radar screen the issue of transformation in the public arena.

The Indaba also seeks to stimulate debate on how to fast track transformation and develop strategic partnerships with other government departments, Chapter nine and other stakeholders in the transformation space.

“We have not yet arrived at the proverbial Jordan. Not by a long shot. A lot of work still needs to be done to create equitable and transformed workplaces, which are free from unfair discrimination,” Oliphant said.

The minister told delegates at the Indaba that at the dawn of democracy, South Africa committed itself to the eradication of social and economic inequalities, especially those that are systemic in nature, “which were generated in our history by colonialism, apartheid and patriarchy, and which brought pain and suffering to the great majority of our people”.

“On the eve of the second decade of democracy, we must be true on the promise we have made to our children and their children’s children to uproot all the effects of apartheid policies. Today there are those who say that the two decades should have been enough to deal with the last vestiges of the abhorrent discriminatory system,” she said.

She said South Africa as a member of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) was obliged to comply with International Labour Standards for ratified conventions. This relating to issues of convention that deals with equal remuneration, and elimination of discrimination in the workplace.

She said it was the priority of government to deal with the inequalities left behind by the apartheid legacy to bring about socio-economic freedom.

Women, Children and People with Disabilities Minister Lulu Xingwana also expressed her concerns on the low number of people with disabilities in management positions.

“We are working with the private sector to ensure adherence,” she said.

She said South Africa was hankering for a society that promotes equality to all its citizens.

“No society can claim to be free when a large part of its population still remain in bondage,” she said.

Xingwana said while significant progress had been made in the public sector to improve the lives of the discriminated, the picture still remains sad in the private sector.

“We have a responsibility to ensure all women, youth and the disabled including those in rural areas have access to opportunities,” she said. –