By Petronella Sibeene
Most employers have failed to embrace the Affirmative Action Policy aimed at rectifying inequalities and skewed distribution of occupational opportunities inherited from the colonial regime.
Latest figures show high levels of inequality especially in the private sector.
The Commission’s latest annual report reveals that only 31 percent of executive directors and 44 percent of senior managers are black.
“This percentage is seriously skewed and must be transformed to conform with our national demographics,” said the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, Alpheus !Naruseb.
Fears are that slow redistribution of employment opportunities in favour of previously disadvantaged groups might unnecessarily prolong the need and relevance of the Affirmative Action Policy.
Speedy realisation of the Affirmative Action Policy objectives largely depends on the willing cooperation of relevant employers, the Minister said.
The Minister said progress towards employment equity cannot be achieved unless the role-players commit themselves through concrete action to eliminate employment barriers.
That should be done to create a diverse workforce that reflects the demographics of Namibia.
He warned that the Government will be firm on employers who challenge the creation of greater employment equity.
Meanwhile, the Employment Equity Commission on Monday rewarded 19 employers who successfully implemented the Affirmative Action Policy.
National power utility, NamPower, was the overall winner and received a floating trophy. Its affirmative action report rated 97 percent on a points scale.
In the Best First Prize category, the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources received a trophy, while the Mobile Telecommunication Company (MTC), Ritters Toyota, Namcol, and Namib Mills received compliance certificates. They rated between 91 and 96 percent on the points scale.
Wilderness Safaris received a trophy under the Best Second Prize category, with Standard Bank, Namdeb, Barloworld Equipment, Premier Construction and Business Connection getting certificates. These rated between 86 percent and 90 percent.
Rating between 80 percent and 85 percent, Bank Windhoek, PricewaterhouseCoo-pers, Zimmermann Garage, Telecom Namibia, Nexus Construction, Ongava Game Reserve, and NamPost, were awarded the Best Third Prize category.
Commissioner of the Employment Equity Commission, Vilbard Usiku, said the achievements of the winners was significant as only 19 out of over 300 relevant employers managed to meet the requirements as demanded by the law.
Reports assessed were submitted between April 1, 2004 and March 31 this year.
The assessment, according to the Employment Equity Commissioner, aims at establishing levels of change in the workforce profile and the distribution of designated groups by occupational category and level.
Data relating to the recruitment of new employees, promotion of existing employees and terminations of contracts of employees during the period under review were also considered in the assessment.
Usiku said winners complied with all the policy requirements – current workforce profile reflected national demographics, affirmative action budgets were available, reports were complete with good layout, Namibian understudies were identified for all non-Namibians, there was evidence of consultations with employees and the companies have realistic targets to affirm all designated groups.
“The winners have gone out of their way to meet the criteria. The Commission is extremely proud of them,” Usiku said.
The Affirmative Action Policy came into effect in 1999.
Every three years, the Commission reviews the performance of relevant employers to assess progress made in implementing the policy.