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Durban - The government is failing to meet its own employment equity targets and implement its own legislation, says the Commission for Gender Equity.
In KwaZulu-Natal, three private sector and five public sector entities have been called to account for the slow pace of gender transformation and the inadequate promotion of women with disabilities, according to its findings.
In the eThekwini Municipality there was just 21 percent female representation in top and senior management, with only 20 percent of the total workforce being women.
This was “gravely concerning”, said the commission, and a failure to comply with racial, gender and disability equity.
The city has an employment equity plan and transformation is a key performance area for all senior managers.
Its five-year target is 30 percent, despite legislation requiring 50/50 representation.
Because of this non-compliance with the Employment Equity Act, the municipality was placed under director-general review by the Department of Labour. It also had to be subpoenaed to compel it to submit the requested information and to appear before the commission.
Launching the provincial findings in Durban on Friday, commissioner Janine Hicks said despite the constitution, various pieces of legislation and international conventions ratified by the South African government, gender and disability had dropped off the radar screen.
The findings are drawn from the commission’s report of 2011 hearings on gender transformation in the workplace. “Employment equity has become a numbers chasing process, with companies just ensuring their BEE scores look good, but (no) real effort being made to build an institutional culture,” said Hicks.
She said meaningful transformation would be achieved by companies allocating budgets, requiring regular reporting and holding managers to account for the promotion, recruitment and capacity-building of female employees.
The SAPS was found to have less than 30 percent women in senior and middle management, and only 0.6 percent of the workforce was disabled.
However, the service intends to have a 50/50 representation of senior and middle managers and to increase its disabled personnel to 2 percent by next year.
“In terms of gender representation, SAPS has the best representation of all police services in the world, and will host the International Conference of Women in Police this year,” said the report.
The KZN Legislature was on track to reach transformation targets, with 42 percent women.
At the University of KwaZulu-Natal, 47 percent of academic staff are women.
Women in leadership was discussed at an event to celebrate women’s month hosted by its College of Humanity on Friday. ANC national chairwoman Baleka Mbethe was a panelist.
She encouraged young women to walk through the doors opened for them by the women who had fought apartheid, but warned there was no promise things would be easy.
The university council’s chairwoman, Phumla Mnganga, said that in leadership one had to be tough and firm, but balanced with caring.