South Africa’s government ideals and the operating priorities of the country have clashed at a vulnerable time. Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) is a legislation that is aimed at correcting the injustices of Apartheid.
The idea is to give the previously disadvantaged black South Africans opportunities that were denied to them in the past.
In general, to be BEE compliant, your company needs to represent the majority black population at all staffing levels. The BEE criteria have become so stringent that even government enterprises cannot keep up.
According to the trade union Solidarity, state owned Eskom the country's primary energy provider, has to cut 3400 white professionals in order to meet its “race targets”. This number includes over 1000 white engineers and over 2000 white artisans.
This has come to light in the midst of an economy-crippling energy shortage brought on by the severe mismanagement of Eskom.
In order to have a shot at making a success of the BEE initiative, the South African government would have had to consistently pour massive amounts of resources into education and training, creating a solid foundation of a skilled population to draw on.
Unfortunately, they simply have not done enough in this regard. The result being that companies look at race before merit, making it difficult for South Africa to retain its trained and skilled work force.
Eskom has denied job cuts, saying all skills were needed at the moment.
Matthew Klynsmith earned a business administration diploma at CTI in Cape Town, South Africa. He now works at Strategic Options as an associate partner. To read more reports from Matthew Klynsmith, Go Here Now.
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