Archive for May 16th, 2007|Daily archive page

Economic Oppression Kills: South Africa Apartheid Continues

In affirmative action, apartheid, cause marketing, mindset 3.0, South Africa, Third World Business on May 16, 2007 at 5:07 pm

After years of affirmative action to correct racial inequalities left by decades of apartheid, management of the South African economy remains largely in white hands, a report said Tuesday. Black people were largely consigned to support functions in areas like human resources, corporate affairs and government liaison, according to a report by the Commission for Employment Equity. “The pace of transformation has been painfully slow,” commission chairman Jimmy Manyi was reported as saying.

The number of blacks in top management rose by a “very shocking” 9.5 percent from 2000 to last year. The number of professionally qualified blacks employed by South African companies declined by 7.6 percent, while that of whites rose 6.1 percent. The top management representation of white women, who qualify for limited affirmative action promotion, grew from 4.5 percent to nearly 15 percent — three times their percentage of the economically active population.

The perception for many illegal immigrants is to seek better opportunity for their families and themselves in South Africa. However, I can only imagine that encumbent South African blacks are reaching, if they have not already done so, a level of frustration that this country is bound to explode from within. This is what I believe people are beginning to see. The statistics in the United States reflect a different story to be sure; however, what you do tend to see, I believe, is a striking resemblance of the imbalance of power or representation in terms of corporate roles where minorities and in particular African-Americans tend to be in lower level jobs.

In terms of entrepreneurial endeavors, the scene is startingly different. What you tend to see if you look closely enough is that “high velocity” roles in the fields of high-tech start ups, venture capital, private equity, large scale social entrepreneurship tend to dominate with whites. By contrast, “safer” jobs including HR, compliance and customer service, those jobs with lower levels of risk and pay tend to be reserved for blacks in the United States.

In the case of South Africa, the numbers reflected in this report will change when the Microsoft’s and the global investment banks and large mining companies like BHP Billiton say something and do something even bigger to hold partner companies accountable for such disparity and walk the talk themselves in this region. This is the recipe for change to be sure. Feedback from you.