Racism seen slowing progress of empowerment laws
by SAMUEL MUNGADZE
JOHANNESBURG – THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) must classify all companies that have failed to reach empowerment targets as racist, black empowerment proponent, Jimmy Manyi, has suggested.
“The DTI must label all companies that are Level 6 and below as racist,” Manyi said at a debate on empowerment laws, held in Rivonia, north of Johannesburg.
“In South Africa companies find reasons not to employ blacks. You need laws to provide opportunities that the blacks never had. I spent 30 years of my 50 years of life under apartheid, we were dehumanised by apartheid and I do take serious offence to those who trivialise the experience.”
Manyi, the President of pressure group, Progressive Professional Blacks Forum, spoke at the event 1873 Network organised.
However, fellow panellist Mutumwa Mawere, who is chairman of African Heritage Society (AHS), disagreed with Manyi.
“Laws will not substitute effort. The government has to introspect instead of putting everything in one basket called apartheid,” Mawere said.
The outspoken Manyi accused elements opposed to South Africa’s empowerment laws as racist.
“With EE Act it’s about promoting correct representation of the demographics. There is nothing wrong with that,” said Manyi.
The1873 Network Conversation Series is a monthly event that seeks and endeavour to provide a platform for the exchange of ideas, experiences and insights on Africa’s challenges and opportunities.
The Network advocates and promotes the participation of corporates and their actors in shaping and defining the agenda for action to make Africa live up to its promise.
Mauritz Preller, chairman of the debate, said the country require laws that were not racial but inclusive.
“I am white but do suffer the same prejudice of discrimination and its slowing business. I acknowledge the past but we must move and build an inclusive country,” he said.
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