“I am sure… that you also understand that the revolution to transform this nation is only but just beginning and there is still a long way to go,” she said in a speech prepared for delivery at the Black Management Forum’s national conference in Johannesburg..
“To win this revolution we need to stand together and marshal all our forces in pursuit of the radical social and economic transformation. ‘All hands on deck’ should be the motto in moving the country forward.”
Mildred Oliphant said the “noises” from people against transformation would become louder and they would use every possible space to articulate their jaundiced views.
“I have also observed… that our intellectuals are very thin in the public domain and they are completely outnumbered by the disciples of doom and gloom.”
Mildred Oliphant said it was important to find out what was holding back South Africa’s economic transformation so that the corrective measures could be decided on.
“We often do not ask questions that take us out of our comfort zones and we have perfected the art of finding someone else to blame,” she said.
Mildred Oliphant said the single biggest threat to the deepening and consolidation of national transformation was the slow pace and non-committal posture of those that should drive the process.
She said it carried the real risk of people beginning to lose hope.
The BMF was an essential component of the “intelligentsia” that managed the economy of South Africa, she said.
“Management failure in either private sector or public sector, somewhat implies failure on your part,” she said.
“The BMF has, in its 38 years of existence, helped many black people to move up the corporate ladder in their respective organisations.”
Mildred Oliphant said that of a number of companies that had been subjected to the director general of her department for non-compliance with employment equity, their human capital development divisions and industrial relations divisions were, in most cases, headed by black people who grew up in the BMF tradition.
On August 1, the Amended Employment Equity Act (EEA) introduced at least five fundamental aspects which would change the EEA environment.
These included equal pay for work of equal value; strengthening inspectorate and enforcement; increasing penalties for non-compliance; and giving the director general powers to question the employment equity plans if they were flawed.
The new law gave the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration powers not only to conciliate, but to arbitrate and issue awards on cases relating to unfair discrimination.
Mildred Oliphant said her department would initiate its own public hearings on the minimum wage.
The dates would be announced soon.