The annual report of the Commission for Employment Equity (CEE) is riddled with misrepresentations, addition errors and questionable methodology, and is therefore irrelevant and irresponsible, the trade union Solidarity said today. This comes after the announcement by chairperson of the commission, Mpho Nkeli, last week that "white men still monopolise top management positions". Apart from the report's questionable scientific merit, the CEE's own statistics show that black South African are rapidly taking control of jobs in South Africa.
Despite the impression created by the CEE, their report shows a constant decrease in the number of white men in the workplace. According to the CEE's report, white representation at top management levels tumbled from 78% in 2001 to 54,5% in 2009. Representation of white men at senior management level has dropped from 69,5% to 46,3% since 2001.
At the professional and middle-management level, the representation of white men has dropped from 52,8% to 27,4% since 2001, and at the technically skilled, academically qualified and junior management levels the decrease since 2001 has been from 21,9% to 15%. At the semi-skilled job levels, white men's representation decreased from 5,9% in 2001 to 3,0% in 2009 and at the unskilled levels from 1,1% to 0,8%.
From these statistics it is clear that white men's position has deteriorated dramatically in the past ten years.
In one of the CEE's misrepresentations, it is said that the representation of white men at senior management level showed a decrease of more than 10%, while the drop from 2001 to 2009 was in fact 22%.
"Our impression is that the CEE is pursuing a specific ideology, and not the truth. However, the commission should not pursue a specific interest, but should rather be an objective watchdog. If amendments to legislation are based on poor statistics and subjective assumptions, the legislation will be poor and subjective," said Dirk Hermann, deputy general secretary of Solidarity.
Among the other mistakes is the fact that the data in some of the graphs in this year's report indicating certain trends differs from data published by the commission in previous years about the same trends. In one case, 2003's data regarding top management levels was erroneously used as 2005's data. In another case, the percentages in one column, which should actually add up to 100%, add up to 128%.
The arguments in favour of amendments to legislation are based only on the top management levels. However, the top management levels only make up about 0,4% of the workforce. Senior management levels only make up about 1,4% of the workforce. At the middle and lower job levels, which represent 91% of the economy, whites only make up 11,7% of the workforce.
The CEE's report was based on the transformation data of 3 369 companies. However, the companies were not selected according to a representative or random sample, which calls into question the generalisations that the data in the report makes about the true state of transformation in South Africa.
Apart from Solidarity, independent institutions such as MarkData, Ipsos-Markinor and the University of the Witwatersrand have in previous years also pointed out the glaring errors and questionable methodology that repeatedly appear in the CEE's annual reports.
The Solidarity Research Institute's report is available on their website www.solidarityresearch.co.za
Statement issued by Dirk Hermann, Solidarity deputy general secretary, August 5 2010