At least 1% of business in the metals and engineering industry is black owned and there is a disturbing trend in terms of demographics in both board memberships responsible for critical decision making and the management levels. This paints a less than rosy picture of Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) in this industry.
Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe said quoting from findings of a comprehensive study by the Corporate Strategy and Industrial Development (CSID) Research Unit based at the University of Witwatersrand.
The Deputy President was speaking at the launch of the new Volkswagen South Africa (VWSA) Parts and Accessories Distribution Centre in Tshwane on 17 June 2010 encouraging both labour and captains of industry to work together to change the status quo.
“In a way, both labour and captains of industry are joined at the hips, such that if one is disposed to move forward and the other stalls, neither stands to gain in the ensuing struggle”, the Deputy President said.
He said that in terms of both race and gender index, much still needs to be done to ensure a more or less representative industry better equipped to respond to global imperatives by leveraging the abundant human resources the country have.
More spending on skills development and training in this industry was also encouraged by the Deputy President when he indicated that the study’s findings also suggest that “not enough is being spent on training workers in critical or core skills”.
“The training offered focused mostly on occupational health and safety, which, important as it is, does not address the core needs of our economy”, Motlanthe said.
He further said “it also found no link between training initiatives and translation of these into a change in the structure of employment equity, such that training holds out the prospect of upward job mobility”.
The Deputy President said he was confident that if all stakeholders can work together, the automotive industry can overcome the challenges, “especially economic transformation in the metals, engineering and automotive sectors”