THE BLACK MANAGEMENT FORUM SUBMISSION ON WORKPLACE DISCRIMINATION

 

CASE 1

Hi,

Racism is still very rife in the work place.  I have personally experience racism from my first job in 1999.  I have been sidelined in terms of promotions, increases and bonuses, although i was more competent, the only one educated and hard working than my white counterparts.

I would have preferred to stay with the company longer, but had to move as i was not allowed to prosper.  I have also left my second job for the same reasons and will be continously be doing the same.

In my previous job i was given a "dead" portfolio which was in no way going to turn around.  My white colleagues were given the big corporates which are JSE listed and did huge volumes of imports and/or exports.  Despite my efforts i was not allowed the opportunity to prove that i can also look after the same clients and grow their business.

As it is, i'm the only black woman in Global Trade Sales.  I have two degrees, one diploma and studying towards another one currently.  I know my job very well and have passion thereof.  My cv speaks for itself but i have to work ten times as hard to get some kind of recognition.

My suggestion is that all black affluent, educated, hard working, middle class march to the union building, particularly private sector, to hand over our grieviances to the government, and also to show the elite minority that they cannot function without us.  Perhaps that will show them that we do add value in their organisations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                       

CASE 2

Good morning,

 

 I would like to share my experience as regard to racism in the workplace.  I was employed in February 2004 as an HR Generalist for XXX in Cape Town.  This company is a subsidiary of XXX, they specialise on developing softwares, and their main clients was Telkom and Vodacom.

 

 I have a telephonic interview in December 2003 by my predecessor who was an HR Manager by then, but because the company was restructuring she was retrenched.  The company's head office was in Pretoria, Centurion, because of the restruscture the company has to relocate their head office to Cape Town.  My interview went well then I was referred to the Managing Director of the company for a second interview.  It was not really a formal interview, he explained to me about the position and that he will be happy if I can add value to the company.

 

 In December I did got an offer, and I accepted the offer, and have to serve notice with my previous employer.  I started in February 2004, I worked on my own in the HR Dept. without an assistant.  My functions covered all HR functions, and I would say 60% of my job was administration, because of the nature of the business we did not have much to do with IR issues.  Our staff was dominated by white people who were IT Specialist e.g. Business Analyst, Software Developers etc.  My last HR report I have prepared shows that 70% of staff white, 26% coloureds, 3% africans and 1% indians

 

I was reporting to the Managing Director of the company who was very happy with my performance, and the staff was happy with the services I have provided to the company.  If you are interested I can forward you emails that I received when I left the company.  The problem started when we employ the Financial Manager of the company who was a Chinese male.  He was working for Altech before but on another division in Pretoria, so when Isis have a vacancy of a Financial Manager they have to transfer him to Cape Town to head the Finance Dept.

 

He used to complain about my work, he will complain about the government, government policies, politicians, and his complains will be endless and sometimes they will be directed to myself as a black female who heads the HR dept.  I was not reporting to him, but he will ensure that he wants to know my tasks that I perform, he will dictate me on how to do my job.

 

In 2006 I lodged a grievance to the MD, we have a grievance enquiry, he said he was not aware that what he was doing is not right, he apologised, he said this will never happen again.  He suggested that I can approach him if I feel that I have complain with him we can talk about it.  It was so sad because he never stopped, he will shout at me at the passage, and the staff will hear him shouting at me.  I tried several times to approach him and told him how I feel, and he will say no this is his nature.

 

I couldn't lodged my grievance to a higher level, because my MD was on the same boat as myself, he will communicate with him, as if he even don't know his job.  I resigned last year in October and relocated to Durban, this was a constructive dismissal but the company did not have proper policies in place to correct the situation.  My MD resigned on the same month I resigned, that make the situation worse.

 

I would like to thank BMF for this opportunity, whereby I can be able to opened up and express how I was treated. 

 

Thank you.

 

CASE 3

Hi MK

 

I think racism still prevails at the work place. How ? When affirmative post are advertised in my Company they are advertised  as follows:

 

 (The appointment will be made from the designated group in line with the Employment Equity Plan of XXX and the specific business unit.)

 

 

I applied for the position of Manager Regional Sales Administration, people that were interviewed were 3 gentlemen including myself i was told that i was the best candidate for the job by my White Senior. To my surprise when the results were announced  a White woman who was initially not mentioned in the people that applied for the Job was given the position. My White senior phoned to inform me that I was the best but they had to consider the White Woman as she was better than me.

 

I feel that our BMF President is right when he suggested that a sunset clause need to be considered when white Women applied for this designated position.

 

Regards

 

CASE 4

Hello MK

 

It has been my brief experience last year (2006) with an employer in the Office automation industry (xxx ) and an employer previously in the early 90’s (xxx) in the retail industry that People of colour are paid paid slightly more than people who are black and white people with less qualifications and experience, of similar age or otherwise, are paid significantly more than people of colour or black people in general.

 

This practice is not justifiable.

 

Coloured and black people are also in this instance victimized by the comraderie of white individuals. It has been my experience that affirmative action promotions had to be done internally and if a suitable person was not found that an external process would be followed. However, it has been my experience that in this instance the successful AA appointee has in all cases always been a white female, fresh out of college or University and the qualification weighed more than the experience and dedication of the black or coloured individual who due to their disadvantaged background cannot afford to either pay for or take the time out to study as this would certainly mean a decline in livelihood for the family dependent on their salary.

 

In the second instance the external suitable candidate would most certainly be a white male, who has many years of experience.

 

I am of the opinion that a white individuals lifestyle though significantly higher than the average coloured or black individuals lifestyle is not enough cause for them to be paid at a higher rate at the detriment of and the continued oppression of a black or coloured person. This practice is straight out of the Apartheid text book.

 

With my employer (XXX) during the period 1997 – 2002, despite a clear lack of staff in a new department, was made aware on a regular basis that my positioning was strategic due to the colour of my skin within the context of a lily white organization of priviledged few and that I came a dime a dozen and should appreciate the job I have as it is not a right but a priviledge. I had a number of white males appointed above me, despite their inability to do the work.

 

After much victimization and reference to personal issues on the first occasion in 1999, I resigned to only later find out that the Manager had an affair with His secretary and promised her my job in return for sexual favours. The manager was later fired due to my input and replaced by the same white female he had the affair with. The second time in 2002 after I was asked to come back to the company and relocate to Johannesburg with a new born baby and wife at the time in 2000, The Company opted to settle after I actioned my rights with the CCMA, but not before I was asked to leave the premises and severely threatened with unpaid wages and how this would effect my family.

 

In contrast a white male colleague who moved to Johannesburg at the same time, had the cost covered of moving his entire household from Cape Town to Johannesburg accommodation was organized, he had access to company vehicles. The Job was a promotion, so he had an increase in salary etc. etc.

 

My experiences were not easy, but at the same time completely unnecessary. If not for all this I would have been much farther in life and a lot more secure than I am at this time. I am absolutely certain that apart from these same atrocities playing out in the lives of people close to me, there are many more that I do not know that are going through exactly the same experience and for fear of not being able to support their families they accept the victimization.

 

I also guarantee that these employers would never acknowledge that any of this ever happened.

 

There is something about some white people that we may never understand,

  • they still see black people as a threat and therefore do unto us before we do unto them
  • They always make you feel unwelcome at their gatherings
  • They always think that they are superior to black people
  • They always make our white friends feel as if they are betraying the white race

 

Yet we share our space, our resources, our lives with them without once considering them the enemy among us.

 

Perhaps as black people we had our lives invaded, because we are too accommodating.

 

Kind Regards

CASE 5

Dear BMF Leadership

 

             re:File XXX/2005 Durban Equality Court

 

Kindly be advsed that I, XXX XXX (KZN-BMF member) duly submit

the above as his personal life experience for BMF Parliamentary Submission

on Racism in the Workplace.

 

Further, take note that the said submissions were set down for the Durban

High Court 'Special Review'.

 

NB!

The matter is to be adjudicated before a Full Bench on a "Special Review"

after the Presiding Officer at the court a qou had found that the matter

carried ernomous constitutional implications and challenges.

 

I hereby canvass your legal opinion regarding having "this real life

experiences" submitted, though, I'm persoally of the view that it merits a

mass consumption throughout South Africa.

 

Further, be advised that the matter was already in the public domain as it

was reported extensively by The Natal Mercury, Daily News and The Natal

Witness.

 

COPY OF THE HIGH COURT REPRESENTATIONS AND CLOSING ARGUMENTS ALREADY HEARD

BEFORE THE DURBAN QUALITY COURT ( prepared by a layman, myself) COULD BE

FOUND FROM YOUR IT & Marketing Kelebogile.

 

 

Sincerely

 

CASE 6

racism is a real issue in our working environment.

 

And it is so subtle - an ugly thing that time and again rears its ugly head even in the Parastatal environment, where I am.

 

From a lily white XXX about a decade ago, we seem to be gradually going back to the same old XXX that was.

Why, due to the fact that, the company is going through transition, and in this transition, I think carelessness from the side of those are politically deployed to be agents of change at a strategic level sips in.

How, without mentioning names, some of these key black figures 'deliberately' leave the transformation agenda to the vices of the 'trusted' white managers - who by inclination would tend to bend more towards their own either by intention or implication. You'll then find that new positions are being filled by other white people and other appointments are made without their positions being advertised. A case in point, here at work, a lot of black people, - high technical people - have left the company due to being not given enough authority to do their jobs. In that space, you'll find some white consultants being asked to consult for some work that was left by a black person and all of a sudden, that same white person gets appointed to do the same job - without his/her position following due processes for advertisement. 

 

The so called black - agents sits very comfy at the top, without raising a voice on these and other issues. When you the little guy in the so called middle management think of raising them, you simply get afraid of being victimized, first by your own and secondly by whites in power. So what you do, you keep quite.

 

When its comes to procurement issues, it's even very suspicious, as you'd find that one and the same companies seem to get jobs. Even though these companies are BEE compliant - mostly with 26% BEE - But you'll find jobs that should have been exposed to the overall public, especially small telecoms BEE Companies seeking first entry to the space, can not get an opportunity. Instead they make these close tenders though the specification qualifies it to be an open tender.

 

I have a classic example of what recently happened, i.e. last year 2006. A colleague of mine during the work related heated debate was called KAFFIR (Name withheld) I was boiling as I sought to advice that he takes up the matter legally almost immediately if need be. He was calmed down and the white guy who had called him by a 'K' word, was summoned by his own to immediately apologise_but this with a sole intention of not getting him to trouble, rather than true apology.

Besides socialization cultures that are different - between blacks and whites - you'd find they still hang around together and discuss subjects that are theirs with a strong undertone of racism, as soon as you join in - they disperse. And you can see them in their faces, that they hate that you are a manager may be like them. And its not even an issue of low self esteem and humbleness like one white guy wrote on the Sunday Times of 26 Aug 07 (In response to bro Jimmys - BMF President - article of the 19 Aug 07 "racism in the work place) 

 

The sad part is, a lot of white people know very well the tactic to use, that of divide and rule.

they simply employ more Indians instead of Africans (Or Blacks as I don't know which is a politically correct term) who themselves (Indians) get into a trap of ensuring they employ their own without necessarily being considerate of demographic issues in the country. This just make matters worse - as the architects of trouble looks down with such pity on all of us. It further flares up the flame among us blacks.

 

May be we need an open dialogue for at least a season on this - without actually being told we are nay sayers, people to be pitied and all sorts of names. Its clear in my mind that we still need to wage this subtle war on racism but I believe we can and we owe it to ourselves to be positive about our country, embrace one another with no fear of racism, and all that (in the work place).

But as a proud BMF Member, I am making a difference in a small way - where I am, with the little authority I have, without necessary being racist (though I'd admit, time and again, when one has to deal with these issues, one tends to be forced into a corner of becoming like a racism himself)

 

I thank you!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

CASE 7

Thanks  for giving me this opportunity, to express my real life racial inclination experiences at XXX where

i am currently  working.

 

First  and foremost it is  really heart Breaking to witness  15  black Professionals leaving one  division within a year

Exactly 11 years  after the dawning of democracy in south africa, simply because the racial favouratisms  are so evident and the management is aware of the imbalances and the  favouratisms  when it comes to promotions.

within one  year  i have witnessed the promotion of only white people some who are so ill qualified compared to their fellow

African counterparts, when i questioned HR as a member of the Employment equity forum I was told  that the next round  of

promotions  would  definately include Black people  but to no avail.

 

When it is  time for bonuses 95% of all the Black people get peanuts  and some do not even get anything at all while the white folk are even able to buyBrand new 4x4 cars for cash  and take their family on holidays.

It is  so sickening that most Black professionals in this  division do not see afuture and are forced to resign from their positions  and  look elsewhere.

 

When a black person is employed , whether  he is experience  or  not he /she is  put on a training programme that is  prolonged for no sensible reason.

In my case i was Educated and trained in the united kingdom  of  great britain and  had just completed an assignment  with one institution and so i approached my employment agent to place me appropriately , the interviews where good and i commenced  my Job.

My immediate reporting line  manager was this arrogant  chap who decided that i should  be on training  for at least six months because thats the way it works.He was so pompas because he had spent 18months  in london with a firm of accountants  and always referred to that , so one day i was so fed up with his  silly behavour

and told him that i had been studying in the UK for 7years trained for 3years as a management consultant  and worked  for a Barclays  bank for 4years  and therfore

his  nosensical trainig was preposterous and unacceptable and went straight to see the MD of  corporate bank to clarify my position and was immediately moved because i gave him no option but to resign  and go public in the press with the story.

Not so many are that brave  as the fear to be marginalised  and victimised.

 

I worked  For XXX  as well before the aquisition by barclays and the Racialism was very rampant.

 

Let me end  hear as i could go on and on

 

Regards

 

 

 

CASE 8

Good afternoon,

 

I wish to remain anonymous.  Part of my retrenchment, was that I had to sign that I would not take this matter further.

 

I am a coloured female having worked in Corporate for the last 19 years.  I have recently been retrenched.

 

I always considered myself to be one of the lucky ones, having reached Executive Management or so I have always been told when questioning why I was not the same Grade Level or salary as my peers.  I worked my way from clerical level to Executive.  I completed an MBA full time, taking a very tough salary sacrifice for the year of studies.  So here I am, educated, experienced, a female, a person of colour, yet when the Executive team was restructured I was not offered a position – I apparently did not have the right skills set and no development programme was offered to equip me.  All I was offered was a demotion with the opportunity of working my way back up again.

 

Regards,

 

CASE 9

Hi Ray

 

Let me put it this way, your facts are wrong. I also enquired with some of my colleagues for example Piet Retief Area. The Area Manager approves everything not as you indicated. If you don’t believe me, check with the Area Manager for factual facts on the ground. So it’s not SQF operating in this way

 

Go to XXX District to check for yourself, an area manager has also confirmed to me that things are the same as here at SQF. Also check at XXX, Greytown Area Manager as he also confirms with me that the he authorise everything. The SAP system doesn’t note stipulate that an employee on which band must sign to what level. Not all D band employees in XXX are signing on the XXX. You can check this one with XXX consultants to verify facts. Not, it’s clear that your facts are not right. I urge you to phone Area Managers and check for yourself before making a conclusive argument can be made that SQF is operating totally different from the rest of the areas.

 

Just to take you back as a desk exercise, phone some of the senior managers who have been around for some time to enquire about their signing levels now compared to 10 years ago. The picture is that, most of them signing levels are less that before as business operating systems changes. There is nothing in life that is staking. An employee can’t sign for R1 million for ever, tomorrow he/she might sign for R100 000 or more than R1 million. There are corporate case studies to prove this, not just feeling. It’s well document on academic journals like Harvard Business Review, South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences and other renowned publication.

 

I did not forget to state that trust is a two way street. In future, don’t assume or think on my behalf. Read the message as I have stated it, otherwise the interpretation might not be understood on the other side once received by the recipient. It’s like communication which is a skill and not all people are good communicators. That was not the point I was making.

 

The issue of environment is not clear to me; which kind of environment as there are many types of environment in business. In business, people will always have different view points otherwise there is no constructive criticism and learning environment. No one will be growing as a total person.

 

Who is putting who under duress!!!

I don’t see any link to the way SQF operates to the academic definition of duress I have learned during my undergraduate commercial course. Maybe I didn’t understood the meaning of duress or my academic qualified professors and practicing advocates who were offering the course were confusing me on the definition and the way is interpreted in corporate by practicing individuals. If that’s the case, I’ll need a refresher course on commercial law courses on definitions like paru delectum rule, estopel, voetstood, etc.

 

Who is actually a dictator!!!

 

I also work for a company and not a dictator.

 

As you indicated that “you don’t have a problem with change as it’s a fact of life”. SQF of 2001 won’t be the same as SQF today, SQF in 2010 and beyond. Business changes rapidly.

 

Trust is not given and guaranteed. Anyone must earn trust. How can there be mistrust if trust was not earned initially. The earning of trust is a process, not a once off event. Trust is also a two way process like communication. Trust is not only assured and earned by merely people signing.

 

According to Prof. Yukl (2002) who highlighted that trust is not only based on one variable as you indicated (authorization level), there are other variables which need to be assessed whether there is any correlation and validity test among independent and dependent variable. His research case studies are based on corporate examples; it’s not just an academic book or feelings. He further states “Leader trust in followers is determined jointly by qualities of the followers (e.g. values, motives, skills) and qualities of the leader (personality traits, values, prior experience) page 109*. I can share with you more literature evidence conducted in many multinational companies about trust issues and those are corporate examples from the FTSE 100 companies so that people must learn the road those corporate went through during changing times.

 

“Trusting behaviour has a stable individual-specific component. However, this component is at best weakly measured by typical attitudinal questions about trust, including the widely studied trust question” – Glaeser, E.L; Laibson D.I and Scheinkman, J.A (2000).

 

Just indicate if you need those research information. I’ll forward to you a list of articles and books as a base.

 

At the end of the day, it’s not only SQF unique i.t.o authorisation level implementations.

 

Kind Regards

Jim

 


 

Hi Jim,

 

Thank you for your reply , at least I sort of know now where the distrust comes from.

 

I do not have a problem with change as it’s a fact of life , what I do have a problem with is how it is done – no consultation / explanation , but in a ditactatorship manner . You will do as I say or else!!!

 As you stated “ The critical part is how people accept and manage change …….” , which is correct but you forgot to mention that it is a two way street . A person instigating the change must create an environment conducive to change and not conflict  , as it is now. How do you expect people to just accept change under duress ??  We are all working for a company and not a dictatorship.

SQF was measured on sales and profit performance from day one ( and ALL employees had certain levels of authority ) , so what’s changed now ??? A lack of trust by the looks of things.

 

Lastly, I contacted XXX – District Manager XXX and Michael XXX – District Manager XXX.  They both stated that their Area Managers and Foresters ALL have levels of signing authority , as well as some of the clerical staff. So it is not only XXX Management who trust their subordinates.

 

It is a real pity that we have to work under these conditions of mistrust.

 

Kind Regards,

 


Hi Ray

 

As indicated to you earlier on that SQF is registered company and on top of that, it has to make profit. In that case, all cost must be monitored and consistently verified. I indicated to you to check your facts buy not comparing SQF to XXX/District personnel alone as if their practice is BOP. Check other areas within XXX and then, you’ll have a better comparison to make a conclusive argument. We are not a cost centre, we are a profit centre.

 

I also indicated to you that I am fully accountable to SQF and I would have to know what’s really happening at all times. Business changes rapidly in this 21st century. There is nothing that is static for ever without reviews, changes, cancellation, and etc. Change is part of business revitalization. All companies go through changes and all staff must understand that there is pain within a change process. The critical part is how people accept and manage change for the betterment of the business and themselves personally.

 

Lastly, I hope in due course you can come back to me with evidence from other areas. SQF is a business that is measured on sales and profit performance. Part of making profit, is how you manage your cost so as to minimise expenses impact/fluctuations on the NPBT and attributable reserves. This will ultimately affect the dividends payment to SQF shareholders.

 

Kind Regards

Jim

 


Hi Jim,

 

As discussed this morning I was extremely perturbed to find out that my existing authority levels had been COMPLETELY taken away from me and without consultation or explanation.

To me this shows a total lack of trust in me as a person and as a D band employee.

In my nearly twenty years of service with XXX , I have never encounted this level of distrust and extreme demotivation.

 

After having authority levels of R100 000 . 00 plus to not even being able to purchase a pencil for .99 c without you first having to authorize it is beyond me !!

 

I am still waiting for a satisfactory explanation for this distrust , not only for me ,but ALL the SQF employees as well.

 

In the XXX Zululand district the clerks even have a higher signing authority than any of us .

 

I would appreciate your reply on this matter.

 

Regards,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CASE 10

 

To whom it may concern.

 

I would gladly support this initiative to address this epidemic on a higher level. I had been working for 31 years at this company. I managed to excel in my job due to inherent skills when the results achieved by working with your hands could not be denied, during the apartheid time. Promotions were mainly reserved for "whites" and not the achievers. We were told that our artisan status would stand us in good stead as apposed to a person with a degree. 30 years later I am experiencing the reverse of this situation. The company employs any person with or without the necessary skills above those with the trained skills. I regard this as an insult due to the fact that my knowledge gets drawn out of me to help my superiors in their presentations to management. Secondly, the "white" hierarchy builds a negative profile of us "non-whites" that serves to barr us from getting the recognition from being nominated for promotion. We had seen this situation replay itself continuously. We tried to highlight it to human resources without success. As far as skills and expertise is concerned, we do not lack anything. When it comes to being pushed forward, only the "whites" are good enough. We are fighting a losing battle. We thought that the government would look at the previously disadvantaged artisans to retain those skills in the workplace. That is the reason why we voted for a democratic system. Instead there are numerous excuses being used why we do not qualify for promotion. They have all sorts of tests that we have to write and it had been proven that the people with younger minds would ultimately do better. What I am concerned about is that the companies will continue to abuse our skills while we can only stand as helpless on-lookers. When we apply for positions we are just told that our metric and trade skills are not sufficient. 

 

WE NEED HELP!!

If you want more information I could supply you with achievements and much more information to support my concern.

 

Yours.     

 

 

 

 

 

 

CASE 11

 

Dear MK

 

This is a real coincidence as I had just experienced racial injustice in my workplace.

On the 27th August 2007, I took my lunch break as a usual and normal practice to pick up my son from school.

I usually drop him off at home and quickly drive back to the office to carry on with my normal office duties.

It so happened that on that day I had a call from my customer, who wanted to see me in twenty minutes.

That interfered with my son's routine and therefore had to quickly rush back to the office and brought him along.

When reaching the office I got him to seat in the back office and carried on with my customers.

After finishing with my customers I received an e-mail from my boss with the following:

 

"I think we need to discuss this issue regarding your son. You are spending way to much time away from work picking your son up from school and then bringing him back to work. we seriously come up with a solution to this matter. this is a place of business and not a day care. I am sorry to sound so harsh but we need to address this issue."

 

Shortly thereafter I got a call from him regarding the same matter. Our conversation did not end up amicably as he got infuriated when I asked him why is such a big issue when I bring my son to work, but when white colleagues bring their children to work after picking them up from their respective schools it does not become an issue. I further asked that is my son so Black that his presence becomes so easily recogniseable that he picks up an allergy, and that White children are so white that they are invisible and can not be seen. Yet they are the ones who loiter around the premises. I honestly feel that this is racial attack from my superior. I feel that being African in this country irrespective of affiliation you will be always prejudiced.

 

Another issue which I feel justifies prejudice is the fact that the very manager was put in the position without undergoing proper selection processes. I do not think he has any post-matric qualification, yet I, on the other hand possess a BA degree with  MAP, experienced in sales and to top it up - an African women. All these meet the Employment Equity Act, which qualifies me for the position but was denied the opportunity.

 

I have always encountered problems when I have to attend to family obligations, especially visit to the doctor. I kept on reminding him that I am a single parent and am unfortunately cannot relinquish my parental duties to any one. We had so many confrontations and I therefore felt that it was not worth fighting anymore.

 

That prompted me to resign immediately as I felt that I cannot compromise my maternal rights for anything in the world.

 

CASE 12

Racist and discriminatory practices:

 

On the 26th March 2007 I received notice to terminate the amended monthly contract of service. Termination was effective on 31st instant.

I had worked in this company five years from July 2001 with the fixed five year term ended June 2006.  Three months preceding June I had been

promoted to act in executive position from March to May – a precedent that I qualified and could have been promoted.  Up to end of June and

Dec 2006 the appraisal process had not been completed. Decision to continuity or termination had not been addressed by Feb 2007.

 

Senior Management Profile:

 

  • Race profile: 70% (b) 30% (W)
  • Gender: 78% (m) 22% (f)

 

In the FY 2004-5 the gender profile had changed from 22 – 25% women through the Equity Plan and Programme that I managed. 101 middle managers

were trained on a 6x months programme (2004 & 2005) on leadership, gender and diversity.  The success of this programme was honoured by the

presence of the XXXIn her remarks she charged us to pursue entrepreneurial projects for women.

 

In 2006 4 African women 3 African and 1 Indian at senior levels resigned under suspect conditions. I am one of these. I attended the CCMA hearing

on 7th May, 2:30 pm. Decision was taken that I shall be called for the arbitration. To date I have not been called.  

 

If an analysis were to be conducted, it shall be found that the white managers who have left the company during this period, did so voluntarily and submitted

resignation notices. On the contrary the African managers – at senior level, left under unfair conditions and in my case the matter was not fully

addressed. The performance appraisal process had not been completed either. Regrettably both executives to whom I was reporting are not in full employ

of the company.

 

I contend that racism and gender imbalance is rife in the workplace.  CEO will not willingly address transformation unless there is controlled

and systematic monitoring.

 

Thank you

 

CASE 13

This is a very difficult one indeed as it comes in various forms.

 

 

Racism in the workplace is perhaps as old as the hills.

 

For example – I have been working for a corporate organisation for about 30 years during which I advanced from grassroots level, but never attained a managerial status. However, all my peers and co-workers who were not people of colour progressed further than I up to senior management level. In addition, a large portion of my bosses were first my subordinates (my contribution to the old South Africa).

 

A new racism has come to light and probably been evident for the past five years without being visible. Intellectual capital, crosspollination and support base structures are the livelihood of specific race groups. Other race groups are alienated. Visibly alienated.

 

I know of people who have been put on a “fast tracking” program about 15 years ago in preparation for junior management posts. These have not materialised as a result of restructuring and changing goalposts.

 

I also think that white women have become an escape goat. This has been very evident over the past 5 years.

 

CASE 14

 

I do not have a story to tell but I am a medical doctor qualified in Occupational health. I am a medical assessor for the compensation fund appointed by the Minister of Labour for the past six years. I am worried about the long term effects of what is happening now to our members at their work places. Mental disorders like PTSD ( post traumatic stress disorder ) and work related depression and anxiety are likely to happen in the long run because of their experiences at the work place ( Post Vietnam War veterans and mosts retired police in South Africa are experiencing it right now ).These are compensable diseases in terms of The Compensation of Injuries and Disease Act so 1993.I think everything possible must be done to either minimize or preventing this happening to our members and all black managers involved.

 

CASE 15

 

1 September 2007

 

Dear President Mbeki

 

Racism at the work place – Urban Legend or Reality

 

I am a chartered accountant who together with other forward thinking black people formed a national black auditing and advisory firm to meet the challenges and take up the opportunities presented by the new South Africa. We did really well and produced black Chartered Accountants who with otherwise have not had the opportunity to qualify.

 

Unfortunately and unbeknown to many of us , some of our brothers had other plans and agendas and in 2000 we were seduced by the promise of money and positions into a merger with a “Big 4 “ audit firm. The nightmare then began.

 

I was, after a year, appointed as senior partner of the region by a forward thinking white gentleman, whose boldness and progressive views on transformation resulted in his untimely departure. Other reasons were forwarded for his departure as is always the case.

 

Under the microscope.

 

My appointment as the firm’s first black regional leader resulted in me being constantly watched and scrutinised like a creature being studied under a microscope. This is unlike the treatment my white counterparts in other offices received. My every statement was analysed and interpreted.

 

Within a short while of taking the position, I retrenched some employees .Although approved in principal it was not well received by the powers that be when it was realised that mostly white people lost their jobs. An anonymous letter to the CEO (still not shown to me) resulted in the Human Resources Partner and an executive partner coming down talk to the people about these problems. How undermined and demeaned, I felt as the leader of this region. I must add that this never happened to a white leader. A number of similar events happened but I cannot detail them all.

 

Find a white brother to keep an eye on the coolie

 

In order to make sure I did not get out of line, the whites found one of there own to keep an eye on me .More than keep and eye on me he was asked to attend meetings with potential new clients together with the CEO, a duty this should have been performed by me. Were they ashamed to show big white business that they had a black leader or were they concerned that in conversation I may actually not decry ANC policy and may not slate the government or worse still say some thing positive about the country. Be that as it may they never on one occasion managed to win these clients over despite the all white team. Never once was I even consulted or informed.

 

Allocation of prestigious clients to black partners

 

Even though it was my duty to allocated clients to the partners i.e. clients referred from Johannesburg or from abroad I was often told that the decision was already made and that it was in the best interest of the firm that a particular white partner be allocated a job. My protests were seldom listened to. It is important to the progress of partners that they are given decent assignments. Black partners are given the worst jobs and then their performance is criticised. To the best of my knowledge there is only one listed entity out of many that is led by a black partner. This one was one that I was personally involved in procuring together with this black partner. Unfortunately black partners only protest to each other and seldom challenge the system. Black partners are seen only as good enough to do government work “because your people want to see black faces” Even in this arena we are expected to use our black faces to win the work whilst the white partners get to develop the specialised skills.

 

The Black Partners Club

 

In 2004 the black partners got together and formed a pressure group to challenge the system and to raise issues around transformation. After one positive meeting we raised issues for the CEO. He met with us and put forward his views on the issues raised in an unconvincing manner. Its appears that some apologists were cornered and were read the riot act. That initiative was killed for good with the blessing of the most senior black person. We never met again.

 

Blatant open racism

 

It was my intention to fill the vacancy for Human Resources manager with a black African female as at that point the firm did not have one in a senior HR position. The argument that posts for CAs are difficult to fill because of the shortage of black CAs is marginally acceptable but black HR practitioners have been around for years making a similar argument irrelevant. I was told at an open meeting of partners by the white executive partner that black women are very partial and motherly to their own and therefore not suitable of the job. I was asked not to employ a black African person.

 

I was told that by the same racist above again in an open meeting that we have too many Indians in my region. We were never told that we had too many whites in Pretoria. The racist was challenged and had to back down. The percentage white in Pretoria is far higher than in the percentage Indians in my region. This leads me to the conclusion that so long as white privilege is protected transformation can take place.

 

Taking on Black Clients

 

Although not written in any manual, taking on a black client followed a different process. Every detail of this client was analysed and scrutinised in order in make sure that they were not risky to the firm. The same scrutiny was not applied to white clients whose dubious activities were always justified.

 

Resignation

 

By October 2006, I had enough of being a coolie and resigned. The next most senior person to replace me was black but was overlooked and the white coolie watcher was appointed. They were clearly terrified of having another person who was able to challenge them besides, the white boy had for long done their dirty work. The black partner has since left. The junior white partner was fast tracked. It’s acceptable to fast track whites but it is a reviled practice when it is used to assist transformation. Currently not one office of this firm is led by a black partner.

 

I hope my letter blows away the legend. If I have opportunity to discuss this at a forum I would be able to add a lot more meat. I would like to commend BMF on this bold initiative and would like to see a forum set up, where these issues are discussed and plans made and executed that will help us move forward.

 

Yours faithfully

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CASE 16

Portfolio Committe

Att: P Jayiya

P.O Box 15

Cape Town

8000

 

 

Sir/Madam

 

 

Workplace Discrimination – XXX Head-office

 

I would like to thank you for the opportunity to have our voices heard, because I was just about to meet the State President regarding this matter. I would like to inform you about the racial hidden oppression “Blacks” are experiencing in XXX head office in Johannesburg.

 

In the department I work for, Corporate Sustainability (SHE) we as blacks are treated unfairly as compared to our white counterparts and some Indians. Amongst other things I have identified the discrimination in the following areas:

 

1. Unfair grading : This normally happens when a black employee applies for a position at a higher level. The offer is normally given but without promotion despite it being advertised at a higher level. There is currently a case against Eskom to that effect from 2003. It was stated in writing by the Managing Director, XXX that it’s Eskom’s common practice to do this. This was repeated this year to another black employee.

 

  1. Low salaries: If we get the opportunity to be given the offer at the promotional level, then the salary is always at the lowest level while the whites go to the maximum. Two new whites came to the department and their salaries (package) is more than R120 000 than the blacks package on the same grading.

 

  1. Performance appraisals (bonus): Our performance ratings are normally between 2,7 and 3,3 while the whites and some Indians are far above that. In this case 1 means poor and 5 means exceed (excellent).

 

  1. Poor development: The development of blacks is so poor that we don’t have blacks at PPU, SSE,SS2 etc. Only whites and some Indians benefit.
  2. Blacks participation: There is a meeting called “management meeting, this is only attended by people at higher levels, which again is whites and some Indians. Sometimes one black might be called to “observe”

 

  1. Benefits: The department staff is required to travel nationally and internationally. Blacks only travel nationally. There is only one black lady who for some reasons was allowed to travel to African countries such as Lesotho, Namibia and Kenya. They (whites & Indians) travel to France, USA, Germany, Switzerland etc. The Managing Director approves these.

 

  1. Labour relations Management: I’m of the opinion that the labour relations management of most of the managers needs urgent attention. With my current labour case with XXX, the case was presented to different levels but the commitment to resolve the issue is non-existent. They just rush to take the matter to their internal legal department to defend the case. My case was declined by CCMA for late referral (not on content) which is also questionable. I still need some investigation with the CCMA.

 

  1. Outstanding case: I currently still have a case against XXX as mentioned above in (1) and (7) above. The case is about a job offer given at a lower level without valid reasons. It has a claim of 30 months attached to it. The original claim is R206 000 and is currently at R329 321.

 

  1. High turnover: The environment is not favourable for blacks that they always leave the department and nothing was done to date to identify the problem. We are currently left with one black lady at the officer level out of about 20 employees, all the senior advisors (ladies) are gone. One finished last month (July 2007) and the last one is serving a notice till the end of August.

 

  1.  Implementation of decisions: About six months ago, I believe the EXCO made a decision to retain people, that the employees at P level should be moved from 25th percentile to 50th. Other departments implemented this and our department, because the whites were at maximum, was never implemented.

 

  1.  BEE and BWO consideration: I have the suspicion that big tenders in this departments are given to and the Blacks are given smaller tenders. We employees are the only ones that make provision for BEE or BWO but they just select whoever they want. This needs investigation.

 

From the above, the following conclusions can be made:

 

(i)                   There is still a lot of discrimination in this department even after more than 10 years of democracy.

(ii)                 The problem might be organisation wide but I don’t have details to that effect.

(iii)                The organisation has made profits at the expense of black people.

(iv)                I think XXX stats in terms of Gender equity, AA etc, looks good but if one looks much deeper, the stats mean nothing.

(v)                  In this specific department, Blacks are considered les than human despite the top Eskom management structure being about 80% Black.

 

In order to address the problem, the following are recommended:

 

 

a)       The four managers involved in this racial discrimination activities (in this department) ie. the previous and current Corporate Occupational Health and Safety managers, general manager and Managing Director (Corporate Services) must be dismissed with immediate effect since they have planted racism in that department.

b)       We need to get some compensation due to the wage disparity that went on for such a long time without the company identifying it and for the 50th  percentile differences that should have been implemented.

c)       I also need to get my claim of R329 321 which has been outstanding for four years.

d)       We need an urgent investigation to be done in the whole organisation to ensure that these issues are identified Eskom wide and addressed.

 

 

If you need my help, please feel free to contact me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CASE 17

GOOD MORNING

 

I AM AN ABSA EMPLOYEE, AND I FEEL THAT SPECIFICALY HERE IN THE FREE STATE THERE ARE SYILL ISSUES OF RACISM. IN THE WORKPLACE I HAVE HAD FIRST HAND EXPERIENCE. I DONT WANT TO ELABORATE IN DETAIL BUT I THINK THE LEADERSHIP OF ABSA IN THE FREE STATE NEEDS TO ADDRESS THIS ISSUE.

 

I ALSO DEAL WITH A LOT OF CLIENTS, AND IT IS AMAZING THAT AFTER OVER A DECADE OF DEMOCRACY, THERE ARE STILL PEOPLE WHO ARE OPENLY ARROGANT AND RACIST. I HAVE CLIENTS WHO HAVE INDICATED TO MANAGEMENT THAT THEY WILL NOT WORK WITH A NON WHITE PERSON. I HAVE COLLEAGUES WHO CAN ATEST TO THIS AS WELL.

 

THANK YOU FOR THE OPPORTUNITY.

 

REGARDS

 

CASE 18

Good day!

 

With my own expirience in the banking industry when i was still with XXX was the fact that if white people do things that contravenes the bank rules and regulation in most cases they find ways to make the white employee not to go disciplinary but if it is an african who did the act they will get rid of you without looking at your mitigating circumstances.

this is a problem where black professionals are afraid to make mistakes, they would rather refer everything to their supervisors. all i am saying is that recism in the workplace comes in a manner where africans are not empowered to make decisions but only preference given to whites.

 

 

Regards

Thabang

 

 

 

 

 

CASE 19

 

Hi

It is with pleasure to put it like it is

 

The below are some of the experiences that one came across in my workplace:

 

·       A black person who replaces a white employee in a job is not remunerated the same as the previous incumbent.

·       A black manager for him to sign an work order ( money) only makes a recommendation and the white senior sign

·       A white manager is allowed to play his role unlimited, while a Black one must get permission from the senior.

·       A black manager has to fight for his rights to make decisions while this is different to whites

·       One is told to consult senior white managers first before making a decision

·       Plenty of AA beneficiaries are called managers while they truly feel that they are just tokens who do not have managerial powers

·       White managers are sent to developmental training courses that lead towards qualifications.

·       Blacks are sent to short courses {2 – 5 days} that leads no where.

·       Lastly, a colleague of mine has been appointed as a production superintendent, after 6 months he was promoted to production manager, however he does not and has never attended a production meeting.

·       He has been given a 3 months probation period first as superintendent and 12 months probation period as production manager

·       He does not even enjoy the benefits which white managers are getting

·       He is not allowed to run the function, though his name is used for employment equity statistics purposes

 

Regards

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CASE 20

 

Thank you for this initiative.

 

I’ve been in the employ of this organization for about a 1year and 8months.The organization has grown by more than 30% over the past year that I been here. At the time of my appoint I was promised growth development and increase, which to date has not materialized. I seen white women and men been employed in middle and senior management of this organization and preference given to these white colleagues who are neither experienced and lack the tertiary qualification which their high profile jobs require. I am a black female who has the experience and qualification which should place me in position of management, but I have been marginalized and not given an opportunity for development within this organization. As a BEE company they should be empowering black females in order increase their score card rating, but they are so dependant on the score card rating of their investment company that this organization appears to be promoting BEE on paper but in reality they have no interest in the empowering of black females in particular.

 

 

CASE 21

 

As it suits the submission request, my real-life experience is based on a service-delivery proposal to Management and Fund Trustees for work to be done on commission basis per output.

 

The proposal has taken five (5) monthly meetings since it was made known end-March 2007 and all the answers I get on enquiries as to the outcome are: 1) decision-making delegated to Management, 2) Trustees had questioned conflict of interest before I could come out and declare (suggesting improper behaviour on my part), 3) whether I am not fronting for any other big company, 4) sharing of the job, i.e. 1000 cases to be split between two companies (mine being a start-up pitted against an established 5 year-old entity) and lastly, 5) my new Senior Executive suggested I should join this big entity instead of competing against them - how much more insulting can that be to small business development?

 

Contrary to the above, things are done differently for other white former employees who took retirement packages and so on. They do not even get told to strip-down to the core to almost baring their souls before they get considered or actual appointments, all one hears is announcements at Exco or Management meetings.

 

Our black executives' role: silence and MORE giggles in the corridors.

 

Disappointed Aspirant Black ENTREPRENEUR

 

 

CASE 22

 

XXX (Pty) Ltd, based in Centurion Lake, is practising a serious racism within the company.

Most of the companies junior and some senior managers are previously white XXX, XXX or XXX and they have their way of doing things that do not allow any other ideas from other guys from other companies, which has further jeopardised the chances of a successful project.

Many of these posts were not advertised.

 

The work given to historically disadvantaged is mediocre work and is not visible to the entire organisation.

 

EE committee that is existing is not supported by senior and junior management and they are not even interested in becoming part of it.  The EE chairperson XXX, is easily manipulated to report hypothesized results to DEPT of Labour, scrutinise the 2006 report, many of the things listed in the report never happened and figures were not true. (I wish Manyi could also get this email).

 

System engineering level (Grade 13) and above comprised of mostly white people with only 3 system engineering blacks. Part of these people do not even have minimum requirements as required by the system engineers job profile.

 

Many of the jobs here are not advertised and when advertised already you find a candidate long working in the post. This happen mostly with the white candidates or sometimes we never even see the advertisement for the post you just get surprised by your new manager who came after you or a new candidate from outside.

 

The issue of nuclear skills shortage is waived all the time, but to my surprise not many South Africans has it anyway, so we have to all learn on the job. Unfortunately here this happens to only whites not to blacks.

 

HR hides all info you want, they even do not want EE committee members to sit in interviews to monitor fairness, never mind providing the info to be scrutinized by the EE committee for imbalances and fairness.

 

Please help us, relay our grievances to the relevant people at the Parliament, and I further call for a surprise HR audit at XXXX to see what I am talking about.

 

There is serious war against blacks here and I mean it.

 

Regards

 

CASE 23

 

I have encountered racism in the workplace so much that at times you feel like it was a wrong move for black people to go to school.

I am a professional in a possession of a law degree, with completed articles and further qualified attorney. In the past two years I have worked for a private sector in major banking institutions and in both instances I have experienced racism.

At first I was an employee at XXXXX at Legal Risk Division where I was hired with Indians and white people. I was hired on a contract basis that was going to be made permanent after six months but all white employees were hired and were made permanent within the first month of starting. I was thrown in a deep end without a proper training and I was expected to swim or sink when asking lots of questions in order to understand if what I was doing was correct I was regarded as a person who is not coping. I was always expected to be at work 24/7 and not to make mistake and when you did something and there was a mistake instead of addressing that mistake you will be told that it does not matter how much volumes you do but if there is one file that comes back and there is a mistake your volumes and efforts are worthless. When white people are say things about you, you wont be given a chance to state your case it will be concluded that whoever said anything about you is right and you were wrong you are indirectly labelled as a person who is not competent and when you ask about permanent employment there will always be that excuse that you need to improve but your contract is not terminated immediately to prove that you are indeed incompetent. When you advise in terms of the law as an expert, your opinion will be ignored until the white colleague side with you and it will then be regarded as a perfect suggestion on both instances I have been a contract employee and every time I am hired there will be a white person to be hired at the same time but they will be permanent within the first months and before the end of the 6th month.

The last straw was at XXXX AT LEGAL & CREDIT SUPPORT   when the first 6th month end my boss had forgotten about my contract and I was the one who reminded her she then extended the contract to another six months and when I asked why was it not made permanent I was told that I have already signed the contract for six months until that expires than it will go permanent. Towards the end of six months I asked again then to my surprise I was told of being incompetent and when I asked her to advise  and explain  where was that coming from she couldn’t say up until today I haven't been advised and for my record at no point in time have I been called and advised that I was incompetent  and all the legal agreement that I have prepared have not at any point come back not signed by the relevant parties. If there is a white person not coping with their work the boss just call a meeting and distribute their work to other people if you advise that you do not have the capacity in your appraisal you will be told that you are not a team player. At the present moment all black employees being employed are always starting on a contract basis while our white counterparties are taken in as permanent employees. No matter how hard you work there is a perception that black people are in the work place because of the AA or EE. I am the only black female in the department and the rest are white they rather promote a coloured person who do not have a degree to do the very same job that a qualified person deserves than hiring a qualified person and when you are hired you will victimised and be told that you are not assertive if you are polite and not speak to people as if they are a piece of nothing.

Hope this helps.

 

CASE 24

 

IDENTIFICATION OF FACTORS WHICH PROMOTE OR IMPEDE EFFECTIVE PERFORMANCE IN RACIALLY DIVERSED CONTEXTS

 

INTRODUCTION

 

One of the objectives of the study is to identify factors which promote or impede effective performance on racially diversed contexts.  The methodological considerations presented in the research proposal took cognizance of the following objective realities:-

 

Ø       People will not readily admit their racial bias.

 

Ø       Raising the race issue in Organisations may cause hostility because of the inherent sensitivity.

 

Ø       Employees may fear sanctions and may not readily share their negative experiences in respect to racial prejudices in the Organisation.

 

Ø       Workgroups will be diverse in their racial mix.

 

Ø       The race of the researcher may influence the willingness and readiness of some employees to provide data, or respond to the interview or survey instrument.

 

Ø       There is an absence of an organizational culture which confronts racial issues.

 

Ø       Racial issues are complex and deeply rooted, the time available will not suffice.

 

Correlation between workplace racialism and performance particularly in a changing socio-economic environment of the South African society is evident in most organizations both in the private and public sector organizations.  At the outset one would like to present the following demographic profile of XXX District Municipality at senior, middle management, officers, Technicians levels and general workers:-

 

Senior Management                            Total number               Black               White

Level     0                                                1                                  1                          0              

Level     1                                                 6                                  4                         2

Level     2                                                9                                  7                         2    

Level     3                                              34                                29                       5      

 

Middle Management                            Total number               Black               White

Level     4                                              16                                15                          1   

                                                            

Level     5                                              28                                23                        5                                                                 

Level     6                                              28                                24                         4    

 

Professionals                                       Total number               Black               White

                                                                72                                 60                     12    

 

Technicians                                         Total number               Black               White

                                                                33                             26                         7    

 

Clerks                                                  Total number               Black               White

 

                                                                85                             73                    12       

 

 

General Employees                             Total number               Black               White

                                                                   137                           136                    1

 

In terms of the picture which is presented above there is clearly a reasonable racial representation at senior and middle management but the lower you get down to junior positions, a predominance of black employees is noted.  However, this racial pattern is not unique to XXX District Municipality but rather resembles a general outlook of the South African workplace profile.

 

As explained in the research methodology, racial issues are highly contentious and sensitive to deal with, making it extremely difficult to document and verify for theory building and empirical analysis.

 

The testing and sampling of employee perceptions about factors which promote or impede effective performance can therefore not be empirically proven in a scientific sense.  The issue of black and white racism is by its nature subtle and extremely difficult to quantify in concrete terms.  However, one is able to note and realize the resultant outcomes in the form of poor audit reports and roll-overs of unspent funds which tend to expose negative management environments within the organization.  This certainty requires attention.

 

Such adverse management posture certainly does not augur well for a profound high profile municipality such as XXXXXXXXXXXX District Municipality.  A municipality which is very well known for its excellent performance.  It would be difficult for an external stakeholder to believe that the internal environment within XXXXXXXXXXXX District Municipality is characterized by discontent and racial polarization with serious tensions in certain Departments.  In one Department an employee tendered her resignation in protest against discriminatory practices but after pleadings and remorseful appeals from Senior Management she withdrew her resignation.  She was later offered promotion.  This is a typical example of racial prejudices at XXXXXXXXXXX District Municipality.

 

In more than three Departments there are notable pockets of workplace racialism which have a direct bearing on the overall performance of the institution and quite often on staff turnover.  As a testimony of these observations one is referred to the more than one hundred thousand rand (R100 000.00) in roll-overs of unspent funds and resignations of key personnel most of whom have refused to offer exit interviews, presumably for fear of adverse repercussions.

FACTOR WHICH IMPEDE PERFORMANCE IN RACIALLY DIVERSED CONTEXTS

 

CATEGORY

ADM EXPERIENCE

1.  Racist performance appraisals

 

    Inconsistent and biased recognition of    

    performance on the basis of ones racial    

    classification has an impeding effect

   on work performance.

 

 

2. Resistance to change

 

 The organisation’s inability to improve its capacity to adapt to the transformation and top managements’ continued provision of leadership on the basis of past racial practices which invariably has an effect of impeding  performance and employee motivation levels.

 

 

3.Inconsistent application of promotion policy

 

   Good performance and loyal service which often results in promotion of employees should be applied consistently and objectively on all employees regardless of their racial classification.

 

 

 

There are documented reports and complaints from black employees who feel that their contribution and effort is less recognized in most Departments which are under the control of white managers.

 

 

There are glaring negative attitudes among white employees towards any transformation policies that are approved by the XXXXXXXXXXX Council such as Employment Equity Policy, Organisational Rights Agreements, Skills Development Policy and this often results in blacks showing similar attitudes and ultimately, performance is detrimentally affected.

 

 

 

An observation has been by a number of black employees that no matter how good they perform their chances of promotion are bleak in Departments which are managed by whites and this hopelessness can potentially affect their performance.

4. Inconsistent application of the

    disciplinary code

 

    The disciplinary code is a tool used for good governance at the workplace.  All employees are required to observe it regardless of their racial classification.  Any inconsistent application can cause tensions and impact on employee performance

 

 

 

 

White managers are readily prepared to invoke relevant disciplinary code where black employees are involved but in the event where white employees are the perpetrators a more soft and lenient approach is adopted.

5.  Discriminatory implementation of  

     the training and development policy

 

The training and development policy is intended to address skills gaps which are identified in the employee performance across all categories of employees regardless of their racial classification:  Discriminatory practices can lead to poor performance.

 

 

 

Substantive and strategic training in some Departments is offered to white employees while menial and unimportant empowerment training is given to blacks.

 

6.  Inconducive workplace

     environment

 

A workplace environment wherein employees are able to maintain and sustain high levels of motivation and their own vitality for the general good of XXXXXX District Municipality and optimal service delivery.

 

 

 

 

The internal environment is characterized by discontent and racial polarization often with tensions in certain Departments.  In one Department an employee tendered her resignation in protest against discriminatory practices.  She complained about racial prejudices in the Department concerned.

7.  Rollovers of unspent funds

 

In a non-racial environment all stakeholders would play their part to ensure coherent service delivery but the reality at XXXXX District Municipality is that some negative attitudes prevail and certain approaches are engineered and poor performance results in non-delivery.

 

 

Procurement procedures and mechanisms with racially calculated spin-offs, benefits and advantages are propagated and failure to accede to these mechanisms would normally result to roll-overs of unspent funds and such affected Departments would then blame the rigid procurement procedures of the XXXXXX.

 

FACTORS WHICH PROMOTE PERFORMANCE IN RACIALLY DIVERSED CONTEXTS

 

CATEGORY                                          ADM EXPERIENCE

 

1.  Organisational resourcefulness

 

Ability to organize and mobilize resources and put adequate systems and procedures for coherent service delivery.

 

 

 

 

 

Notwithstanding adoption of IDPs and budgets each year, mobilization of proper resources to meet service delivery demands remains a major challenge at XXXXXXXXX and racial inclinations always prevail.

2.  Management capabilities

 

Capability of looking ahead, planning anticipating obstacles and having them cleared.

 

 

There is general lack of pro-activeness at XXXXXXXX and the majority of Senior Managers have clear racial prejudices and agendas.

3.  Motivational abilities

 

Ability to motivate employees, stretch them to their full capacity for optimal performance.

 

 

4.  Fairness and reasonableness

 

 

Employees, especially at the lower echelons feel marginalized and morale is low at XXXXXXXXXX and the race question features as an issues of concern amongst employees.

 

Ability to respect all employees and recognize them as important individuals.

 

In some XXXXXXXXXX Departments racial polarization is a glaring phenomenon.

 

5.  Performance appraisal

 

Consistent desire to appraise employees for work well done.

 

 

 

At XXXXXXXX this is not done consistently across all employees in all Departments and racial biases are demonstrated.

 

6.  Strong leadership traits

 

Ability to reprimand employees and being a firm and consistent disciplinarian.

 

 

 

At XXXXXXXXX reprimand is done selectively and some employees are just untouchable especially those who are of the same race as the Head of Department.

 

7.  Decisiveness

 

Capability of being a forceful and decisive manager, able to give clear and concise instruction.

 

 

 

 

Most managers lack these traits and do not have the courage to lead with profound precision and there is a tendency to show racial preferences.

8.Employee motivation and maintenance of positive morale

 

Creation of an environment where employees maintain and sustain high levels of motivation and vitality instead of feeling threatened and living in fear.

 

 

 

Levels of motivation are generally low in most Departments and employees appear to be resentful and discontented.  The black and white issue pre-occupies the minds of employees.

 

9.  Participative management

 

Creation of an environment where employees are encouraged to participate actively in the affairs of the organization for the seamless achievement of its objectives instead of being dominated and dictated to by top management.

 

 

 

In most meetings and forums only top management participate and due to the dominant personalities of senior managers, junior staff do not get the opportunity to contribute and ventilate their career aspirations and there is general negativism by one race against the other.

 

10.  Maintenance of fair rewards and incentives

 

Creation of an environment where there is ongoing engagement with employees around promoting and introducing commensurate rewards for excellent performance instead of putting emphasis on penalizing bad performers.

 

 

 

 

The general management ethos at XXXXXX is characterized by threatening statements against poor performance and there has never been any reference to rewarding excellent performance in the form of some incentives and employees feel that even if incentives were to be introduced, there would be a tendency to base them on racial considerations.

 

11.  Support and Nurturing

 

      New employees require support and guidance from supervisors without which performance could be detrimentally affected.

 

 

 

Quite often the race of one’s group has a bearing on the quality and commitment of the supervisor’s willingness to provide support.

 

12. Feedback on new initiatives and creative ideas

 

Prompt feedback from Senior Management concerning new initiatives from middle management and ordinary employees is important and lack of this dampens the morale and motivation in the workplace.

 

 

 

 

Most employees especially from middle management are complaining about lack of feedback on written reports and initiatives on performance related matters and service delivery proposals.  Swift feedback is influenced by one’s racial classification.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CASE 25

 

Workplace Discrimination

 

The report is summarised to give a general experience of African personnel at all levels in the workplace. Although it is general it is derived from different people and these are the issue that they are facing or have faced. What all these people have raised as a concern is that their HR departments are often not prepared to address these issues to an extent that some of the worst practices are not even reported by the victims. The lack of will and capacity on IR and HR to address these issue is a hindrance that they all believe must be urgently dealt with.

 

When this information was gathered, the main thing noticed was that the Non-African personnel were not willing to discuss these issues. This has made this report to mainly reflect the views of African personnel. These issues apply to all genders with Females having to experience additional hindrances.

The report highlight these few points although it is clear there are more that can be put forward. The issues discussed are as follows:

·         Training

·         Mentoring

·         Resources

·         Appointments/Promotions

·         Subtle Discrimination

·         Employment Equity

·         Human Resource

·         Team Work

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Training: inadequate support during training period, irrelevant or inappropriate training that does not advance the trainee's career. Experienced personnel end up training their new colleagues who are then promoted at their expense.

 

The training standards or requirements are changed or are not equal for all personnel with most of the capable African personnel feeling that they are being set-up for failure.

 

Mentoring: Managers do not make the time to adequately train or mentor the African personnel whereas non-African personnel are given assistance. Coaching and mentoring is provided with less effort to non-Africans as compared to their African counterparts. In most workplaces coaching/mentorship is non-existent.

 

Resources: The African personnel have to struggle within the organisation to gain access to resources that can enable them to do their jobs more efficiently and effectively thus affecting their performance in the workplace.

 

Appointments/Promotions: For technical positions, experienced and qualified African personnel are often overlooked and others are appointed without reasonable basis or merit. Rewards and recognition for the actual work done is not given to the personnel.

 

Subtle Discrimination: This type is often a daily occurrence in most companies in SA. The most frequent discrimination experienced by African personnel is from their fellow colleagues  that of being referred to as “the right colour” in their conversation. Success of African personnel is viewed in terms of them being the right colour not on merit, thus saying that the position of management/leadership that they hold is solely based on their race.

 

Employment Equity: KZN is problematic since EE can be manipulated by the employers the ratio of employed personnel in the province does not reflect the actual demographics of the province, often this goes on without notice from the Department of Labour. An imbalance of organisation departments having less than 2 % African personnel or even the company having a very high percentage of Indian personnel, Coloureds and Whites.

 

Were it is found that there is a high percentage of African personnel in the company it is often at the lowest ranks in the organization, with some companies not achieving 5% of African personnel in their overall management team.

 

Human Resource/Personnel Management:

HR often take deliberate action to block/hinder the advancement or recognition/reward of African personnel, when called to account or give reason for the action they claim it was an oversight on their part.

A classic example of this happened in Mpumalanga were an engineering personnel (African) did not receive a raise and all the people in his department, those below and above him received it. The HR claimed this was a system error.

The attitude of HR departments towards African personnel is often appalling; queries of non-African are quickly addressed IR issues do not experience the same delay as with other Africans. Absenteeism of non-African is easily tolerated or even explained away however this is completely different for African on the Factory floor of most companies in SA. Requisition from African personnel experienced personnel has to go through numerous checks before it can be approved.

 

Team Work: African personnel within management finds themselves excluded from critical discussion and decision that affects their respective department directly or in-directly. Some decisions are made in social settings when the African personnel are absent.