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Woolworths job ads are not racist but transparent

Dear Woolworths customer. You may be aware that over the past few days Woolworths has been accused of racist recruitment practices – specifically, of not employing white people.

We want to reassure you that this is simply not true.

The rumours apparently were sparked by some of our recruitment ads that designate certain posts for certain groups, and are being fuelled by an organisation that has called on its members to boycott us.

We thought you’d like to hear the facts:

n Woolworths does employ white people. We employ women and men of all races, as well as people with disabilities, and will continue to do so.

n We’re a passionately South African company, so diversity is important to us. So is offering fair career opportunities. There are some areas of our business where certain groups are seriously underrepresented. These are the positions where we actively look for qualified candidates from specific groups.

n Most other businesses do the same to bring diversity into their workforces. In fact, in South Africa all businesses that have more than 50 employees are required to do this.

n We believe the responsible thing to do is to be open and transparent in our recruitment ads about the type of candidates we are looking for. Integrity is one of the values we hold dear.

As a born-and-bred South African company, we care deeply about the long-term sustainability of our country.

With your help we have made significant contributions, through programmes like MySchool, to socio-economic development. We will continue supporting transformation and socio-economic development because they are essential for our country’s (and our company’s) future.

Ian Moir

chief executive

, Woolworths

Population can grow if people consume less

Ron Legg’s letter, “Zuma’s huge family is setting bad example” (Business Report, September 3), refers.

Mr Legg cites the inability of the “modern age” and “modern society” to accommodate large families in referring to the need “to curtail our population growth”. The real population problem in South Africa – and on the planet – is not that there are too many people, but too many people who refuse to share. In fact, Africa suffers from underpopulation.

It is well documented that the Earth can sustain many times its current passenger count, if only they would curtail their insatiable desires for more: more energy, more cars, more meat, more stuff! Leaders will have to prepare the people for living with less, if there’s to be a future.

The good news is that the Earth is in rebellion against this “modern” mindset. It’s also good news for those who have waited for the wheels of justice to get around to rectifying things. After all, everything in nature seeks a balance.

The only bad news is for those who will be forced to downsize their appetites.

Truthfully, the real “bad example” being set is by those who stubbornly maintain their greedy, excessive and ultimately unsustainable standard of living.

Ahmedial Ben Yehuda

Spokesman, African Hebrew Israelites’ Village of Peace

Accounting changes for leases still far off

The article in Business Report on September 6, “Global change to lease reporting”, incorrectly states that the changes will probably come into effect next year.

The work plan on the website of the body that will issue such changes, the International Accounting Standards Board, states that it is projecting that the next exposure draft on lease accounting will be issued in the fourth quarter of this year. Due to the contentious nature of the topic it will probably allow between four and six months for interested parties to comment. It will then need to consider the comments received, meaning it is unlikely that the final revised standard on leases will be issued before the end of 2013.

In addition, when new or revised standards are issued, companies normally have at least two years before they must comply. If the revised standard is likely to have a major impact, this period could be increased, so it is unlikely that the new standard will come into effect before December 2016 at the earliest and possibly later.

Garth Coppin

national director of accounting, Ernst & Young

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