CityPress - - Business -

past seven years. The gov­ern­ing party and its gov­ern­ment pay lip ser­vice. White com­pa­nies have no­ticed this and are tak­ing full ad­van­tage of it.

Exxaro isn’t alone in be­ing rogue, for lack of a bet­ter char­ac­ter­i­sa­tion. Rou­tinely, these days, black African male and fe­male ex­ec­u­tives are be­ing re­placed by medi­ocre white men, not even white women, and/or for­eign African men who won’t rock the boat. Ex­am­ples are plenty. Sizwe Nx­as­ana, one of a hand­ful of suc­cess­ful black African ex­ec­u­tives to have sur­vived a paras­tatal with­out a scan­dal, was re­placed by a white CEO at FirstRand. A look at ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tees of the large banks bears this out. A trou­bled tele­coms com­pany re­cently re­placed a black African CEO with a white man with­out a word on trans­for­ma­tion or suc­ces­sion plan­ning. The very same gov­ern­ment has ap­pointed two white men to head strate­gi­cally im­por­tant state-owned en­ti­ties Arm­scor and the Post Of­fice. The SABC, which we now know doesn’t do any se­cu­rity vet­ting of its se­nior per­son­nel, is run by a for­eigner.

If Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions Min­is­ter Siyabonga Cwele fails to stop the In­de­pen­dent Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Author­ity of SA from pro­ceed­ing to auc­tion off the spec­trum to the high­est bid­der, the con­test for the lu­cra­tive spec­trum will just be be­tween the two bul­lies – MTN and Vo­da­com – which have deep pock­ets, but shal­low em­pow­er­ment cre­den­tials.

How did we get here? A cock­tail of fac­tors ex­plain this de­pri­ori­ti­sa­tion of em­pow­er­ment and trans­for­ma­tion. First, the state is to blame. Each year, the Em­ploy­ment Eq­uity (EE) Com­mis­sion is­sues a re­port on the shock­ing state of af­fir­ma­tive action in the work­place, but there are no con­se­quences. In­creas­ingly, em­pow­er­ment is los­ing its im­por­tance in state pro­cure­ment de­ci­sions.

Sec­ond, the state’s mon­i­tor­ing and en­force­ment mech­a­nisms are woe­fully weak and in­ad­e­quate. The de­part­ments of trade and in­dus­try and min­eral re­sources are but two ex­am­ples of poor en­force­ment. In­stead of re­solv­ing the lon­grun­ning im­passe over the min­ing char­ter with the in­dus­try, Min­ing Min­is­ter Mosebenzi Zwane has been fight­ing the re­lease of the state cap­ture

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