10/08/2017 06:53 SAST | Updated 10/08/2017 06:54 SAST

Zuma: Private Sector Slow To Transform

"Women are struggling to enter the labour market even at lower levels."

Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters
Photo: REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

President Jacob Zuma says that while inroads are being made into gender parity in the workplace, the private sector is lagging behind, The Sowetan reported.

Speaking at a Women's Day event in Kimberley on Wednesday, Zuma reportedly said it was also of great concern that women struggled to enter the workplace due to a lack of skills, .

"Progress has also been made in the workplace‚ especially in the public sector. Women are increasingly occupying positions of authority and great responsibility‚ and occupy careers that were previously an exclusive preserve of men...

"While we celebrate the advancement of women in the public sector‚ there is a continued exclusion of the majority of the population‚ both women and Africans‚ from decision-making positions in the private sector. The statistics in the 2016-2017 Commission for Employment Equity Annual Report paints a bleak picture with regards to transformation.

"White people occupy 68 % of the positions at top management level and 58% at senior management levels. Women continue to be under-represented at 22% and 33% at top and senior management positions respectively."

He said government's position was that action must now be taken.

"What is of great concern is that‚ one also notices that women are struggling to enter the labour market even at lower levels due to lack of skills. As a result‚ they are forced to turn to the informal sector to make ends meet. Government has taken a decision that we should go beyond lamenting to enforcing equality within the workplace‚" Zuma reportedly said.

Before his address, social development minister and chair of the ANC Women's League, Bathabile Dlamini, had high praises for Zuma. She told the crowd in Kimberley that Zuma was a "humble president" who "never want to pay revenge".

"Mr President we hold you with respect and high regard because you have earned leadership. You waited until your turn came. You never pushed anyone. Actually‚ people were afraid before you even came," Dlamini said, according to The Sowetan.

"Mr President we are very proud because we have the people's president. A humble president. You never want to pay revenge. Most of the time some of us get very angry when you laugh and share jokes with those who do not want you as a person.

"Mr President you were not built by newspapers. You were not built by the media‚ the elite or bourgeoisie. You come from the toiling rural masses of Nkandla. Mr President you come from the Robben Island and that has shaped your future and that of this country‚" Dlamini said.