Disgruntled workers picketed at the entrance to the convention centre in Pretoria on Friday during the CSIR excellence-awards ceremony to honour employees for their outstanding performance.   Picture: Thobile Mathonsi
Disgruntled workers picketed at the entrance to the convention centre in Pretoria on Friday during the CSIR excellence-awards ceremony to honour employees for their outstanding performance. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi

Perceived racism at CSIR leads to outrage

By Rapula Moatshe Time of article published Nov 7, 2016

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Pretoria - Allegations of racism have hit the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, with black employees taking to the streets to air their frustrations.

The disgruntled workers picketed at the entrance to the convention centre in Pretoria on Friday during the CSIR excellence-awards ceremony to honour employees for their outstanding performance.

Security at the gate was beefed up and police were called in to assist security guards. The picketers held placards bearing messages denouncing acts of racism at the parastatal.

“Black people have been working on contracts for more than 10 years while their white counterparts get employed full-time,” read one of the placards.

Picket organiser Thulani Ntene said racism was the order of the day at the entity.

He bemoaned the salary disparities between black and white employees doing the same work.

Ntene said other workers didn’t join the protest out of fear that they might be victimised.

He said those who dared to speak up against the alleged racist risked being victimised by white managers. “Today we are saying enough is enough. We have been oppressed for a long time,” said Ntene.

He said it was a shame that an entity which had been around since 1945 was still not transformed. Workers demanded that the CSIR get rid of labour broking because it was "a form of slavery".

“Outsourcing must also go and all workers must be insourced,” they said. Ntene said the number of resignations by black workers was too high as they couldn't stomach the racism at the institution.

CSIR spokesperson Tendani Tsedu said management would look into the workers’ grievances.

The issues related to outsourcing, lack of transformation, victimisation, poor human resource policy and salary discrimination, said Tsedu.

“We take the issues very seriously and would like to get to the bottom of them. We are going to look into them and engage our workers to understand where the issues emanated from,” he said.

The protest was supported by the ANC Youth League in Tshwane. Regional chairperson and city councillor Lesego Makhubela said: “The reality of the matter is that racialism is alive.”

He claimed that black professionals at the CSIR were managed by white Afrikaners who had only Grade 6 or 7.

“The ANC has policies that speak to the problem of lack of transformation, but the problem is with white managers who show defiance to government policies by refusing to enforce them,” he said.

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