Ramaphosa last week fielded criticism over the state’s appointment of Andre de Ruyter as chief executive of Eskom, the debt-stricken power utility. Photo: Supplied

JOHANNESBURG – President Cyril Ramaphosa yesterday urged businesses to do more to end the legacy of apartheid and give black people a meaningful role in the economy, only a week after coming under fire for appointing a white man as head of the country’s largest state-owned company.

“The significant progress that has been made in the public sector has not been matched by the private sector,” the president said in his weekly letter.

“Business needs to urgently do some serious introspection. Our transformative agenda cannot succeed unless we work together to broaden the participation of all South Africans in our economy, and it begins in the workplace.”

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The president last week fielded criticism over the state’s appointment of  Andre de Ruyter as chief executive of Eskom, the debt-stricken power utility. 

The company’s two largest unions said the appointment was a setback for racial transformation. The upper echelons of management in private companies were still dominated by white men, although they make up just 5 percent of the economically active population, Ramaphosa wrote.

“Africans only make up 15 percent of top management, despite accounting for 79 percent of the economically active population,” he said, citing a reported released by the Commission for Employment Equity in August.

Sheryl Pretorius, the chief operating officer of merSeta, responsible for, among others, the retail motor industry, said yesterday that race and gender transformation statistics from sector skills plans still remained skewed. 

She noted that up to March 2018, 76.4 percent of employees were male, and 60 percent black African, 22 percent white, 13 percent coloured and 5 percent Indian. However, whites dominated between 60 and 49 percent of upper and middle management respectively, while people with disabilities represented only 2 percent  compared to the target of 7 percent.

Additional reporting by Bloomberg.

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