Employment equity under the spotlight at BMF conference


Employment equity (EE) will be championed by the Black Management Forum (BMF) at its annual conference at Gallagher Conference Centre in Midrand on Thursday and Friday.

Since SA achieved democracy 23 years ago, and before that in its 41 years of existence, the BMF and the Department of Labour’s Employment Equity Commission have been trying to convince business to make more room for black talent. The success has been patchy, to say the least.

Can South African employers both the private and the public sector hear the Department of Labour’s call and BMF on adhering to employment equity and affirmative action in the workplace? What is it so difficult for stakeholders to come to the party? What works and what doesn’t when comes to transformation?

Is the approach used by the government wrong to such extent it exposes the journey of the Department of Labour, and efforts by the BMF to break this chain or corporates continues to disregard transformation taking the advantage of the government weak supervision since it doesn’t have the teeth?

“It is clear that self-regulation by companies has been a failure and the proposed punitive measure is a step in the right direction. Our call for the Employment Equity’s Tribunal still stands because until there are consequences for lack of compliance, the transformation will remain an elusion” Dumisani Mpafa, deputy President of the BMF told The New Age this week.

The latest survey by the Employment Equity Commission shows that 68.5% of top management positions in the country are occupied by whites and that there were a white people occupying top managerial positions in 2016 than 10 years ago.

The BMF annual conference will be trying to unpack what is holding back EE at various workplaces – and the way forward.

The conference will have four subthemes pertinent to the main theme of the conference:

The South Africa We Deserve.
The subthemes are:
Achieving Inclusive Economic Growth;
Workplace Dynamics and Corporate Transformation;
Political Crossroads; and
the Big Discussion.

The Big Discussion will encompass the business, the economic, the academic, the judicial and the political perspectives of The South Africa We Deserve.

Business leaders, political analysts and corporate executives have confirmed participation as panellists to address, tackle and lead the discussions in formulating solutions to these critical socio-transformation issues.

They include: Wits University Associate Professor, Prof Chris Malikane (Achieving Inclusive Economic Growth); The Competition Commission Commissioner, Tembinkosi Bonakele (Achieving Inclusive Economic Growth); Commission for Employment Equity Commissioner, Tabea Kabinde (Workplace Dynamics and Corporate Transformation); Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) CEO, Nicky Newton-King (Workplace Dynamics and Corporate Transformation); University of Johannesburg Political Scientist, Prof Steven Friedman (Political Crossroads); Albright Stonebridge Group Senior Adviser, Advocate Mojanku Gumbi (Political Crossroads); and Former President of the BMF, Prof Wiseman Nkuhlu (The Big Discussion).