South Africa has fined 21 companies and plans to penalise more for failing to comply with laws that compel them to employ more black citizens to help reduce inequality more than two decades after the end of white-minority rule, labour minister Mildred Oliphant said.
Whites, who comprise about 8% of the population, hold more than 68% of top management positions while blacks, who make up more than four-fifths of citizens, have 14%, the Department of Labour’s Commission for Employment Equity said in its 2017 annual report released on Tuesday. Half the companies that were penalised trade on Johannesburg’s stock exchange, Oliphant said.
“We are seriously considering approaching the president to enact the more punitive” legislation, she said in a speech published on the department’s website. “This will give the Employment Equity Act real teeth and will bite where it hurts the most, and that is, designated employers’ revenue.”
Legislation aimed at boosting black people’s participation in the workforce since the end of apartheid in 1994 has done little to slash unemployment and reduce inequality. The jobless rate is 26.5%, while average earnings for black households are a sixth of their white counterparts, according to the nation’s statistics agency.
Men hold 78% of top positions, according to the report.
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