President Cyril Ramaphosa has reiterated that his government will appoint qualified people in the public service, including state-owned enterprises, regardless of their race or gender.
Ramaphosa made the comments in his weekly newsletter to the nation on Monday which reflected on transformation and non-racialism.
He wrote, “As we strive to rebuild the public service – including at our state-owned entities – it is our mission to appoint people who are capable, qualified, ethical and who embody the values of public service, whether they are black or white, men or women.”
Limited transformation in private sector
Last week, some sections of society criticised Andre de Ruyter’s appointment as Eskom CEO, arguing that it set back the transformation agenda because he is white.
However, Ramaphosa insisted that “redress continues to be a crucial pillar of government policy, whether it is in land reform, employment equity or in economic transformation.”
He said while progress has been made in transforming the public service since 1994, it has not been matched in the private sector.
“The upper echelons of management in private companies are still dominated by white men, although they make up just 5% of the economically active population. Africans only make up 15% of top management, despite accounting for 79% of the economically active population,” he wrote.
Advancing black and female employees
Ramaphosa therefore called for “serious introspection” in the business sector to help push forward the transformation agenda.
He added, “Advancing black and female employees must be a cornerstone of any company’s operations.
“This must move beyond merely ensuring compliance, and towards succession planning, mentoring, training and skills transfer, and towards giving employees a meaningful stake in the companies they work for.”
The President cautioned South Africans against being led down the “dark path” of racial and ethnic chauvinism.
He wrote, “Whether it is reflected in the internal dynamics of political parties, in the workplace, or outwardly expressed on the letter pages of newspapers, one finds a reluctance on the part of some to accept that Africans, whites, Indians and coloureds all have an equal right to a seat at the table of our society.
“We have witnessed elsewhere in the world the consequences of narrow forms of nationalism based on race or ethnicity. It is not the society we want for ourselves or our children.
“I call upon South Africans to embrace each other as equals, and look beyond their preconceptions of someone merely by looking at their skin colour.”