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Too many white senior managers in South Africa: deputy minister

Too many white senior managers in South Africa: deputy minister

The deputy minister of Trade and Industry, Mzwandile Masina, says that South Africa is regressing when it comes to Black Economic Empowerment (BEE).

In an interview with the SABC, he said that while there were good intentions in 2003 when the BBBEE legislation was enacted, the private sector has undermined its purpose.

He noted that some companies are recording black employees as stakeholders without their knowledge, in order to boost their BEE ranking. This practice is referred to as fronting.

Masina said that some people are not even aware that they are in company BEE certificates, when that company applies for a tender.

The deputy minister said that the government has established a BEE Commission to police compliance, and transformation. He said that more often than not, it was the big companies who are the culprits of fronting.

Masina said that the government is tightening legislation around fronting and that through new amendments to the legislation, the department is able to criminalize the act.

The penalty for fronting is a fine, up to 10 years imprisonment, or both.

“Until we have majority of our people  participating in the mainstream economy, we are not making any headway,” Masina said.

“If you look at management, both either top management or senior management level, about 70% of the senior managers in the private sector are white, and yet we have a number of qualified black people who could be taking up those positions,” Masina told the SABC.

“At the level of CEO for instance, we’ve regressed from 15% of the top 40 listed companies (on the JSE), to about 10%.”

Masina was referring to data from the 2015 Jack Hammer Executive Report which showed that the number of black CEOs running the top 40 JSE listed companies has declined from 15% in 2014 to only 10% in 2015.

The report also showed that‚ out of a total of 334 people constituting the executive teams in SA’s Top 40 companies‚ 21% were black South Africans.

Research conducted by BusinessTech found that of 537 directors on South Africa’s top 40 listed company boards in 2015, 72% (386) were white.

More on BEE

The DA wants to change BEE laws – here’s how

BEE isn’t doing what it’s supposed to: former ANC treasurer

Watchdog to police BEE fronting

How many black South Africans benefit from BEE

BEE benefiting only a few


BusinessTech's Staff Writer is directly plugged into the South African Internet backbone, and spits out press releases and other news as they receive it. They are believed to be cl...
Join the Conversation (59 comments)
  • James Dean

    The internet would have broken if Penny Sparrow tweeted that.

  • This Guy

    Because BEE doesn’t work. Many a company has closed it’s doors. Go back to the drawing board and come up with a better plan.

  • Justin

    BEE has failed. Move on

  • Real Ist

    People will continue fronting when they are forced to hire 30%’rs who are incompetent / lazy / arrogant / chip on their shoulder / sense of entitlement.

    It’s exactly what’s directly contributing to the demise of this country

    • Bb

      Which 30% are you talking about? Who is lazy/arrogant/incompetent?

      • Fanandala

        To start of with, only too many in our government.

        I presume the ones with the bought certificates do not even qualify as 30%ers.

  • Leon Cornelius

    Well, that’s because BEE doesn’t work…

    Also, why should existing companies be forced to undergo dramatic changes at senior management level (thus sending the stocks down and potential job losses), rather than encouraging, funding, mentoring and building NEW companies with Black entrepreneurs or black managers to ADD to the companies rather than taking away from what there is?

    Stop trying to “redistribute” but rather innovate and create

    • observer111

      This^

  • David

    The gist of the argument is that there are to many white people in SA.

    Headlines in March 2016
    – White South Africans have not reciprocated black people’s attempts to reconcile
    – Whites have owned economy for too long
    – White commercial farmers ‘live large’ off stolen water
    – White Control of Business Will End
    – Bishop Vorster’s appeal to white South Africans
    – Whites, talk less – listen more

    I found the truth in this article by Max du Preez:
    The role and future of white South Africans
    “It would help this debate if we did not only see members of the white community as privileged people with a lack of skin pigmentation. We should occasionally also try and see them as ordinary human beings with ordinary human emotions and behaviour. And what we are expecting white people to do, what I expect white people to do, is a very difficult thing for anybody to do: to step back, to accept that at least for the next generation they will have to stand at the back of the queue.

    But they will have to accept that there will be very limited scope for whites in South African public life in our lifetime. There will never again be a white commissioner of police, a white head of the army or defence force, a white director-general of a state department. The armed forces, the civil service from national down to local level, and the parastatals will increasingly become very frustrating places of work for white people. Even in big corporations young whites will feel frustrated because of the pressures of affirmative action.”
    I have come to the conclusion that SA holds no future for me and my kids, the “white people problem” will be here for many years to come and will be continually trotted out as a scapegoat whenever the there is a need to divert attention from fact that the country is in deep trouble.
    I am no longer going to work towards bettering this country, but am rather going to work towards getting out of it.

  • Rowan

    Thats’ racist. I thought the government were trying to eradicate racism!!!

  • Gary Fields

    Whites on the Board eh? Maybe that is why we still have a (sort of) functioning economy. Lets take a look at how well run the government agencies are, how well the SOEs are?

    • Mamparra

      And while we hate to disappoint them, maybe the ‘black’ managers in the ‘mainstream economy’ just aren’t good enough either, and that’s why their numbers have decreased? Oh no, sorry, that’s all the fault of everything ‘white’ back to ol’ Jan van Riebeeck. Sorry, I forgot my brainwashing for a moment there [sounds of thrashing back with whip].

    • peterq

      Haha, Eskom fired most of their black board members and replaced them with Indians or Gupta people.

  • Rowan

    1. BEE perpetuates racial discrimination. Racial discrimination was wrong during Apartheid times. It continues to be wrong in post-Apartheid times. The Population Registration Act was abolished when Apartheid ended, with good reason. Without it, what basis is there for identifying South Africans as belonging to one of the four (only four!) racial groups?

    2. BEE is monumentally expensive. It diverts money away from productive uses – e.g. education or investment in infrastructure – and to the creation of departments, inspectorates and accreditation agencies that contribute nothing to the economy.

    3. BEE deters local and foreign investment. Not only because it is onerous and costly, but also because it is complex, opaque and subject to change without notice. It is a drag on the economy that contributes to unemployment and low growth.

    4. BEE is unjust. It excludes the vast majority of the population from its supposed benefits, and instead creates a society of insiders and cronies.

    5. BEE covers up problems. It creates the illusion that we are creating a more integrated economy and society, when what we are really doing is perpetuating a society split in two – between well-educated haves and poorly-educated have-nots.

    6. BEE does not work because it diverts attention from the real problem: collapsing education. If as much attention were focused on education as on BEE, South Africa would be on a much better footing.

    7. BEE is immoral. It gives the poor, who are mostly black, the illusion that the government is doing something to improve their lot, and it allows whites to think they are buying social peace at a reasonable price. Both are mistaken.

    • observer111

      Oh, bravo, excellent post.

      Instead of BEE, the government should be trying to create new wealth by sponsoring new black industry and new companies to export goods. Simply reshuffling the wealth around makes us losers in the long term, because there is no actual growth.

  • David

    My black classmates also disagree with the current BEE system as it has only benefited a few.
    Another classmate has been forced to get a black partner so that he can continue working for his main clients. He built this business from the ground up and he is now punished for his success

  • Miles

    No matter where you go in this world, something will always be better than nothing… and perhaps this is where our fearless leaders are making their big mistake. They seem to believe that nothing is better than something… as all their racist BEE laws will only have the effect of ruining economic opportunities for South Africa and it’s people. Uncle Bob and his racist ways are a classic example.

  • Snowlock2.0

    ““If you look at management, both either top management or senior management level, about 70% of the senior managers in the private sector are white, and yet we have a number of qualified black people who could be taking up those positions,” Masina told the SABC”. So they are talking of firing white people to give these people jobs? How is this not racist?

  • Owl

    And just how BLACK is management in government? Does that not count?

    • Wurnman

      not even to mentioned our national soccer team

  • NosySnoopy

    BEE in business is like having a handicap in golf. We do it better, so make it more difficult for us why won’t you.

  • Charles

    Typical response from the ANC. If we can’t have it, we will break it.

  • the-TRUTH

    It may be TRUE that there are too many white senior managers in South Africa. Equally TRUE is that there are too many corrupt ANC members at provincial and municipal levels
    #ANC-CorruptionMustFall
    #CorruptANCMembersMustFall

  • Fanandala

    I think we have too many black ministers and government officials. Which doesn’t worry me in the least. What worries me is that we have too many people in high positions that are, to say it mildly, not terribly honest or competent.
    Mr. Masina himself is just a windbag, he has never worked in the private sector. He worked for the Erkuhuleni municipality, the department of mineral affairs etc. None of these places have ever been anything better than a mess and a half.

  • Rupert Belmont

    The management in the parastatals is almost 100% black. Where did that get us? Collapsed Post Office and SAA, crumpling Eskom, Telkom, Rand Water, Education, Health, sewerage, Municipalities and so on and on.

    Thank God there are still some white managers in the private companies, otherwise we wouldn’t have our daily bread.

  • Mandla

    It is shameful that we as a black majority get extra opportunities which we apparently don’t appreciate and then have the gumption to complain about not excelling at. If there has to be BEE it should be one level only – such as at university selection level – and then the best man/woman should get the job irrespective of race.

    I look forward to the day when I can braai with my white/black/Indian/(you choose) friends and everyone is seen as just a person of this world – after all, we are only momentary custodians. Nobuhle!

    • Nkalanga

      In a perfect world, that will be a nice idea! That will simple not work because of nepotism. Blacks and other marginalized groups will end up sitting at home with their degrees as their are not in control of the economy.
      We as black majority get extra opportunities so as to offset the unfair representation in the RSA economy created durring the apartheid era.
      We can not see each other as equals as long as the socio-economic gap between races exists.

      • Mandla

        With all due respect, I strongly disagree. Our young white counterparts (and I hate to bring race into it) who are post-apartheid babies, are not complaining. They have been raised to seek out new opportunities without crying foul play. Black people have every advantage today and we should empower ourselves and perhaps take a few lessons from whites (and not to mention Indian/Asian and our driven Africans from Northern countries). SA cannot move forward if we as blacks keep looking back – we are better than that!

        • Mamparra

          Exceptionally well said – now wait for the vitriol….

          • Mandla

            You predicted the vitriol Sir…

            The bottom line is, you can’t teach stupid.

          • Mamparra

            Well done for holding your own. We can only hope the message gets through but I suppose we mustn’t hold our breath…

            Mind you, after a brilliant day like today there is a light at the end of the tunnel and it’s hopefully not a train!

        • Nkalanga

          I see you have been fed the DA rhetoric of pretending to be color blind. Why would the young white counterparts complain? They are swimming in ill-gained fortunes they inherited willingly or unwillingly from their parents. You can not move forward if you don’t address the problem.

          • Pieter B

            And that is your informed opinion. How stupid can you be?

          • Nkalanga

            Less stupid than you. Where is your informed opinion?

          • Nextlevel

            fukkoff troll!

          • Nkalanga

            lol…what an informed opinion! Thanks for the input

          • Nextlevel

            It’s insanely funny you having a snake picture as avatar

          • Nkalanga

            Why is that so?

          • Mandla

            Nkalanga (awefully close to Nkandla…), you sir are the problem with this country. Whether I support the DA, ANC or FFPlus is none of your business – I want what’s best for a better future for my children.

            With your mentality you will forever find yourself and the one’s you love working for the man. Having a debate with such short-sightedness is a waste of breath and I hope for your sake that you are eventually employed by a kind white woman!

            You need not reply any further because you have nothing to add here.

          • Nkalanga

            lol, And you believe your mindset is the solution to RSA problems? You have not said anything of substance but rather attacked my mentality which I doubt you have any clue about.
            You can pretend to be color blind all you want, but poverty here in SA seems to discriminate according to color of your skin. I suspect you are one of those people who believe blacks stay in squatter camps because they are lazy.
            Uncle Toms wont help us progress towards an equal society!
            Ohh, Nkalanga is derived from Kalanga….thats a language found in eastern Botswana and Southern Zim.

      • Silver King

        Why not start their own business. Nothing is preventing them from doing so.

        4 years ago I was almost homeless as I was let go do to BEE requirements forced onto the company. The company closed down soon after as they were forced to hire multiple people to do a job a single person could do and simply could not keep up.

        By trading with old toys I am back on my feet. It is not impossible to start your own business and with internet becoming more accessible it is even easier. That is also another failure by the ANC who are stuck on phase one of their broadband roll out plans for years on end while still costing the tax payer millions. Before you jump on the band wagon and blame the white man you should consider what you are doing to better your own future and that of our fellow South Africans. A perfect world will never exist. It is up to all of us to make the best of it.

        • Nkalanga

          A perfect world is not possible but that is no reason not to work towards perfection.
          Ofcourse it is not impossible to start your own business. A significant number of blacks have started their own businesses since 1994.
          Whites are desperately trying to hold on to the gains they got through the apartheid government. It is a losing cause I must say!

          • Silver King

            President Zuma declared in Parliament: “We have more rights
            because we are the majority. You have less rights because you are a minority. Absolutely, that is how democracy works.”

            We live in a nation where a president already declared we have less rights then the majority. It seems the ANC is slowly becoming what so many struggled to overthrow. Forcefully taking over others companies and land is just the start. Remember just as in Zimbabwe only a hand full of people will benefit from this and it will not be the common South African.

          • Nkalanga

            I do not recall that speech. I would appreciate a link on that speech.
            If he indeed did say that, then he does not understand how democracy works.
            Can you please provide examples of where companies and land have been forcefully taken. I have a feeling you are making this up. But ofcourse if RSA persists with the current socio-economic situation, it wont be long before they are radical measures taken.

          • Nextlevel

            news24 com/SouthAfrica/News/You-dont-understand-democracy-Zuma-told-20120914

          • Silver King

            Have you read my previous posts. I lost my job do to BEE. The company closed its doors do to BEE. Just saying EFF should answer that question.

            As for the link:
            http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/You-dont-understand-democracy-Zuma-told-20120914

            What reminded me of it:
            http://businesstech.co.za/news/columns/118312/15-reasons-why-the-anc-racism-bill-is-a-bad-idea/

          • Nextlevel

            “You have more rights because you’re a majority; you have less rights because you’re a minority. That’s how democracy works,” he said, provoking a huge outcry from opposition benches.

            Zuma told MPs it was “a question of accepting the rules of democracy, and operating within them”.

            Yes its obviously a propaganda ploy of the bloody agent capitalist colonialists right

  • Joseph

    [quote]
    Research conducted by BusinessTech found that of 537 directors on South
    Africa’s top 40 listed company boards in 2015, 72% (386) were white.
    [end quote]

    and maybe that’s the reason they made it into top 40 listed companies?

    how does government with all the black managers compare to the top 40 listed companies?

  • MelcolmX

    Unfortunately this is case of not what happens to you its what you do about it! Stop looking for perpetual excuses every other racial group is becoming more dynamic, so why can’t an African?

  • How about all the “fronting” at cabinet level, where the ministers pretend to be representing “the people”, while they are actually representing their personal interests and prejudices, along with those of their hidden “backers”? (Fill in the names for yourself…)

  • Jackie Chan

    Whenever the ANC is shown up for their pathetic 20 odd year track record they blame the minorities for their failures by claiming they “excluding” people … the private sector chooses the best end of story, the ANC chooses SOE and government positions on race rather than merit and the result is plain to see!
    Do you honestly think a top 100 company will not choose the best person for a job, no matter what their color or sexual persuasion or whatever is?
    You legislate minorities out of everything with your racist policies, force white people to start their own businesses and then you want to dictate to them who to employ?
    White kids are compelled to leave the country because of “affirmative action” they then gain valuable international experience, you beg them to come back but they are not allowed to be employed in management positions?
    “If you look at management, both either top management or senior management level, about 70% of the senior managers in the private sector are white, and yet we have a number of qualified black people who could be taking up those positions,” Masina told the SABC.
    These qualified people you have “waiting in the wings” are these the one’s that qualified with a 30% pass rate and no experience?
    If the ANC focused their spending on education rather than squandering it on crap and pathetically useless ministerial and governmental appointments with big houses, expensive cars, ludicrous expense accounts and tenderpreneurs we would not be in this untenable position …

  • peterq

    What a stupid man. The Eskom board went from 12 black, 1 white and 1 coloured person. To 5 Indian and 7 Gupta appointed people.

  • peterq

    Look at government and SEO and you can understand why.

  • Pieter B

    Easy, start to create the top 40 black companies. I am sure white people would not care if everybody in those companies are black. Black people should empower themselves. This attitude of “We want jobs” stink. Create your own job. The fact that BEE exist is that black people believe in their hearts that they are inferior, and that empowerment lies with white people, in other words, if a white people don’t apply BEE, black people can not make it in the world. BEE is just another name for Inferiority Complex Amongst Blacks. Empowerment starts with yourself. Colour does not matter. BEE should only apply to education and then only to poor people without looking at colour. Once you are educated you are empowered. Where does it stop. BEE is just a shifting to a lower gear and racist. It can never work.

    • Silver King

      Up vote. The best solution. After all a nation is only as strong as its citizens.

  • Silver King

    “If you look at management, both either top management or senior management level, about 70% of the senior managers in the private sector are white, and yet we have a number of qualified black people who could be taking up those positions,” Masina told the SABC.”

    Why not get them to run the SOE’s as cleary the curent SOE management are unable to run them?

  • wessel

    We should have continue with job reservation… as the ANC is doing today.
    When a minister talks about “we” and means Blacks, he is separating himself Apartheid style from the new SA. The new ANC racist legislation hopefully put him in jail for 10 years.
    If the best resources in the ANC environment fails to run SOC then whey should anybody take this deputy minister seriously… OK, Homo Politcus is only somewhat related to Home Sapiens.
    What should be happen is a formal separation between the Ubuntu-tibal practitioners and the free market practitioners.

    • Silver King

      President Zuma declared in Parliament: “We have more rights
      because we are the majority. You have less rights because you are a
      minority. Absolutely, that is how democracy works.”

  • Ross Gordon

    For 21 Years BEE has failed South Africa, what South Africa needs is legislation to increase the number of jobs.

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