CORPORATE South Africa has not yet transformed to the degree where we can safely say apartheid no longer exists, or racist behaviour and other forms of racism in the workplace are no longer significant issues. While empowerment deals have broadened from their original elitist and chauvinist aspirations, they have tended to be cosmetic and misrepresent the interests of those “empowered” but with no effective control over management decisions.
Corporate policies continue to reinforce segregation and racial divisions in our society instead of cutting across the colour lines separating us into various racial and ethnic groups. Equal opportunity for example, is still being subsumed under the mantra of “separate but equal” in the strange, twisted logic of the system bequeathed to us by the apartheid regime. What is more, South Africa’s conglomerates have deployed a global strategy which seeks to escape significant empowerment while ignoring the all-important debate concerning equal opportunity and local affirmative action criteria. Diversity remains an ideal spoken about only in the most progressive of boardrooms.