[imagesource: Daily Maverick]
It’s difficult to chart a path or seek a way forward when you are struggling to sail through choppy waters.
With that being said, Dis-Chem, one of South Africa’s most beloved pharmacies and champions for wellness, is aiming to make a move to stabilise its ship.
The pharmaceutical retailer is sticking to an internal memo calling for a moratorium on hiring white people.
According to News24, Ivan Saltzman, the CEO of Dis-Chem penned some of his thoughts in a letter to senior management dated September 19:
“It’s the ratio between white and black that counts. So, when no suitable black candidate is found, and a white is appointed, we need several blacks just to maintain the status quo, never mind moving forward,”
Employment equity targets seem to be of great concern to the business simply because of the fact that they may be penalised for not upholding the status quo in the workplace.
Saltzman is wary of the fact that businesses could pay a hefty price:
“Fines for noncompliance with the Employment Equity Act have been increased to a maximum of R2.7 million or 10% of annual turnover, whichever is the greater, for repeat offenders” according to Cliff Dekhe HoffMeyer
Salzman felt that if the business is to remain profitable certain measures would have to be put in place. His sentiments are echoed in the letter:
“These are harsh measures and necessary if we are to remain profitable and to avoid a potential fine of 10% of turnover which would cripple the business”.
Paying such a huge price is enough to make any business person want to stabilise their business. Leaders at the helm of the ship know that it comes with making tough decisions such as this one.
The CEO as well as the company may feel like this move is merely on par for the course. Some may feel like the company may be regressing as opposed to making some sort of progress.
The CEO of the Black Business Council feels that leadership and managerial positions should be a real reflection of the demographics of the nation:
“If you look at the customers of Dis-Chem they would be more than 70% black people so our issue is that ultimately the management, the ownership of companies and control of the economy should reflect the demographics of the country” said Khanyi Kganki Matabane, CEO of the Black Business Council.
Matabane also made a point of “meeting their own employment equity targets”, adding that “when we look at the JSE-listed companies, the CEOs are still almost 70% white males so something needs to be done to change this”.
Saltzman said no managerial appointments (including senior, middle and junior) were to be made without his “direct approval as CEO”.
The pharmaceutical giant is navigating some really choppy water and its captain and leader Saltzman is trying to use the winds of change so Dis-Chem can push through this storm.
Once it makes it through, it’ll press on towards its destination – perhaps that means transformation in the workplace.
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