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Johannesburg – A division of embattled state arms manufacturer Denel has been hit by allegations of racism and victimisation by its black employees.

Employees of Denel Pretoria Metal Pressings, popularly known as PMP, alleged that senior white managers accused them of being mentally incompetent to do certain jobs.

They claim that they have been subjected to constant victimisation for no reasons.

Business Report is in possession of a report titled “This is our reality of Denel MPM in the hands of black leadership” written by a group of black employees, and detailing incidents of racism and victimisation.

“PMP is still in the hands of the same people that see black people as not being mentally capable of doing certain jobs,” the report claims.

Denel PMP refused to comment on the allegations.

However, in a response to the report, a senior PMP black manager accuses the employees of exaggerating the situation.

“What toxic rubbish!” the manager writes in an e-mail to senior colleagues. “From two employees that have just arrived in PMP and are facing endless list of disciplinary actions, yet they know the history of PMP.

“The company we have now is not the same as the company we had five years ago in terms of transformation. The records are there to speak for themselves!”

This week Business Report spoke to more than four employees who all claimed that while the company may be transformed at the top, racism and victimisation were rife in middle and lower management.

“As black employees with technical skills, we are just never good enough. No matter how qualified we are, we are just not mentally capable to do certain jobs according to the management,” one said.

“When it comes to white employees, no qualifications are required. They say they’ve all got the necessary experience; qualifications mean nothing to them.

“We are seeking help to transform the company, as we can no longer continue like this. It’s enough.”

Four years ago, Denel PMP employees went on a six-week strike demanding transformation in the company.

The strike resulted in the appointment of Phaladi Petje as the first black chief executive with a mandate to change the environment in the company.

Another employee who refused to be named this week told Business Report how employees at a team-building exercise were taught to mimic animal sounds.

“I witnessed some of my colleagues mimicking animal sounds as part of their team-building activities,” the employee said. “But what I didn’t understand was that only blacks were part of that exercise while white people were laughing and making fun of them.

“I was assigned to do work that was not even part of my job title. I was unfairly treated; the line manager robbed me of my leave days. I believe I was his target. He reported me to the human resource department for not doing my job. All he wanted was to make me quit I finally left early this year.”

Another claimed that white people occupied senior positions without the required qualifications.

“There’s a higher rate of racism, favouritism and nepotism. I was feeling intimidated all the time. That is why I left my job a few months ago,” the employee said.

“Black people at PMP are unhappy. We are educated and we are capable of doing our jobs but we have to prove ourselves all the time, whereas white people who retired can come back to the company on a contract basis and take the positions that are meant for us.”

Business Report