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Dear Minister Oliphant

Since 1994 Eskom’s rash affirmative action measures have been decisive in watering down its corps of skilled employees and institutional knowledge to the point where its infrastructure cannot be expanded and maintained any longer. The whole country is consequently facing a growing electricity crisis.

The crisis affects people of all races and from all communities. The damage to the economy is enormous. The commitment of all people in South Africa to realising a good standard of living and eradicating poverty is being dealt a severe blow by the electricity crisis.

Eskom, with its new employment equity plan, is now responding to the crisis by obstinately and relentlessly pursuing rigid racial targets. What Eskom’s proposed employment equity plan for 2015 to 2020 comes down to is that as many as 3 400 white employees will have to leave the company. Instead of retaining and cherishing its skilled and experienced employees, Eskom is dead set on decreasing the number of its white employees in pursuit of a racial target that is out of touch with reality. Minister, the reality is that there is only a small pool of skilled and experienced workers who are able to meet Eskom’s needs. People should be employed from this pool regardless of their race. Racial targets are not the goal – the supply of electricity is.

Minister, with this petition I request you to do the right thing. I request that you take steps, within your powers under section 42(2) of the Employment Equity Act to free Eskom of its irrational racial quotas. I request you to declare that state institutions such as Eskom that are already classified as so-called essential service providers are set free of burdensome affirmative action requirements. Do it so they can employ people on the basis of skills and experience and not race.

The Eskom electricity crisis is but a shadow of the crises that will follow regarding the delivery of other important services if the course remains set on chasing racial quotas.

Minister, be brave and bring an end to this foolishness, where race trumps everything else. In South Africa we simply cannot afford this racial obsession.

We propose that you issue the following regulations:

(a)       Institutions tasked with delivering services that are categorised as essential, must ensure that when setting numerical goals and targets in pursuit of the provisions of the EEA, specific reference should be made to the pool of suitably qualified individuals from which employers/ institutions can expect to promote and/or appoint personnel so as not to unduly affect the efficiency and effectiveness of services rendered.

(b)       The available pool of qualified individuals must also inform the appointments made in terms of the numerical goals and targets.

(c)       When an employer appoints and/or promotes a person, that person must be considered suitably qualified in terms of section 20(3)(d) of the EEA, only if such a person meets the minimum requirements of the job in question.

No personal details other than your name and surname will be disclosed. We’ll update you by SMS and email on the campaign’s progress. By signing the petition letter it is presumed that Solidarity may contact you about this and other projects of the trade union.

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