THE Commission of Employment Equity was guilty of "serious goal displacement" by making racial head-counting rather than service delivery the overriding criterion to measure provinces’ progress, Western Cape Premier Helen Zille’s office said on Tuesday.
The commission found that the top echelons of the Western Cape government remained dominated by white males, making it the worst-performing province in terms of race and gender equity.
The finding is embarrassing for the Democratic Alliance-controlled province, which holds itself up as a model of good governance.
But Ms Zille’s spokesman, Zak Mbhele, accused the commission of "mistaken" priorities. He cited Limpopo — lauded by the commission as progressive in terms of racial equity — which had five departments under administration.
"Do the citizens of Limpopo, especially the poor who depend on government services, experience this melt-down as ‘progressive’?" he asked.
The commission’s 2011-12 annual report, launched by Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant in Parliament on Tuesday, found that while African males and females represented 17.3% and 14.3% of the economically active population in the Western Cape, they occupied 11.2% and 3.1% of top management posts in its government. Coloured males (27.5%) and females (25%) held 36.7% and 3.1% of top management posts. White males (8.2%) made up 34.7% of senior managers in the provincial government.
The commission also found that the private sector in the Western Cape was the worst performer nationally in terms of racial representation in the workforce.
Congress of South African Trade Unions Western Cape secretary Tony Ehrenreich said that the private sector took its cue from the provincial government in respect of "disregarding employment equity obligations".
The commission found that nationally Africans represented only 18.5% of top management compared with 18.8% last year; coloureds 4.8% (3.9%); Indians 7,5% (6.1%); whites 65.4% (68.1%); and foreign nationals 3.9% (3.1%).
It concluded that Africans were still "grossly underrepresented" at this level.
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