Two wrongs do not make a right.

Ag shame, according to AllAfrica.com;

The Commission for Employment Equity has cancelled this year’s employment equity awards, singling out six companies as having made little or no progress towards achieving demographic representation in the workplace.

Representation of the country’s various demographic groups is required by legislation

Such dismal progress had been made toward employment equity targets in the country as a whole that the Commission for Employment Equity was cancelling this year’s employment equity awards planned for August, the chairperson of the Commission, Jimmy (Dr Goebels) Manyi, said on Monday.”

Are we surprised that we aren’t achieving our economic growth targets either? If we put a tenth of the effort, that we are using to racially classify SA Ltd, into job creation and attracting real foreign direct investment, we’d achieve these growth figures easily.

Do you think China and India have sleepless nights because the “demographics” of their respective countries are not reflected in the workplace? In fact, is there any other country in the world that applies so much energy to racial classification as South Africa? We have Government Departments, Legislation, consultants and thousands of public servants scurrying around bullying sectors and companies to get their “equity targets” on track. An interesting aside here, Government seems to only have their eye on the top positions ie. CEO’s, board members, top management etc.

Here is an example of how senseless this exercise is;

  • Suppose we have a country of exactly 1000 employable people with 100% employment.
  • The “demographics” (God I am starting to hate that word) are, 90 % Black and 10% White.
  • We want the “demographics” to reflect in the workplace.
  • There are 10 companies in our imaginary country, each employing 100 workers.
  • A company is made up of 1 CEO, 4 top management, 15 middle management, and 80 “wakkers”
  • Our country thus has 10 CEO’s, 40 top management, 150 middle management, and 800 “wakkers”.

To comply, we ideally need;

  • 9 Black CEO’s and 1 White CEO.
  • 36 Black top management and 4 White top management.
  • And who cares about the rest.

Now theoretically, assuming for a minute that these 9 Black CEO’s and 36 Black top management are properly qualified for these positions, and also assuming that without political interference, none of these positions would have been held by Blacks, we have “uplifted” a mere 45 by our efforts. And at what cost to our economy?

And, what about the other 855 Blacks? Are we going to make them all CEO’s as well? What have we achieved? Are the 45 greedy Whites who occupied these positions previously, going to move down to the factory floor to make way for their Black brothers? Of course not, they’ll just take their talents elsewhere, to where they are appreciated for their qualifications and experience, and not just for the colour of their skins.

“Horses for courses”, my late Dad always said.

I do not qualify to be an American basketball player, I’m at least a foot too short.

I do not qualify to be a builders labourer. I would last about 20 minutes tossing bricks two stories up to a bricklayer.

I come from six generations of merchants and businessmen. I am hard-wired and qualified for business. It’s what I do best, so that is why I do it.

No amount of political interference is going to have any real impact. In fact it will probably do more harm, to those it is meant to uplift. Let’s rather target growth and job creation. Let’s make this country an attractive destination for foreign direct investment and tourism. We cannot undo the harm done in the past. Two wrongs will never make a right.

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