Racism continues to influence employment conditions

07 Jun 2017 16:00pm
WINDHOEK, 07 JUN (NAMPA) - Namibia will take long to achieve employment equity as racism continues to influence employment conditions, Commissioner of the Employment Equity Commission (EEC), Vilbard Usiku has said.
Usiku was speaking during a public hearing by the Office of the Ombudsman on the prevalence of racism and racial discrimination in Namibia.
The hearings are meant to solicit public perceptions, understanding and suggestions for the formulation of legal regulations against racism.
Usiku said the latest workforce profile statistics collected from employers’ affirmative action reports reveal that progress towards equity in employment has been slow and the top echelon in most business sectors remains unacceptably skewed in favour of white employees.
He said the apartheid government left behind a legacy of disparities with regard to the distribution of jobs, incomes and occupations.
“In the context of Namibia, it is apparent that racism continues to influence employment decisions, especially in the private sector,” he said.
He noted that the continuous marginalisation of the previously racially disadvantaged and their appointment to lower level jobs where pay and benefits are generally poor, perpetuates the income inequalities along the racial divide.
Usiku said it appears that management of white owned businesses in the private sector is reluctant to appoint blacks to positions at the higher echelon of their business structures for reasons unrelated to occupational suitability.
He also noted that income gaps are defined along the racial divide, whereby remuneration that is commensurate with black employees’ levels of responsibilities does not help to close these gaps.
“The goal of equal employment opportunity is not likely to be attained unless designated employers move a step further to foster a culture which is primarily concerned with interpersonal and inter-group communication and relationships at the workplace,” he said.
He said employers have to realise and understand that the human resource development strategies are inspired by the goals of diversity management, transformation and efficiency.
“Employers should be encouraged to make every effort to promote diversity in the workplace and that the working environment is free from racial stereotypes and any forms of prejudice,” he said.
The public hearings in the Khomas Region started on Tuesday and will end on Friday before moving on to other regions.