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Ramaphosa urges South Africa Inc to appoint more black managers

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South African President Cyril Ramaphosa urged businesses to do more to end the legacy of apartheid and give black people a meaningful role in the economy, only a week after coming under fire for appointing a white man as head of the country's largest state-owned company.

[EDINBURGH] South African President Cyril Ramaphosa urged businesses to do more to end the legacy of apartheid and give black people a meaningful role in the economy, only a week after coming under fire for appointing a white man as head of the country's largest state-owned company.

"The significant progress that has been made in the public sector has not been matched by the private sector," the president said in his weekly letter to the country on Monday. "Business needs to urgently do some serious introspection. Our transformative agenda cannot succeed unless we work together to broaden the participation of all South Africans in our economy, and it begins in the workplace."

Mr Ramaphosa's demand for greater inclusion comes after his government was criticised for naming Andre de Ruyter as chief executive officer of Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd, the debt-stricken power utility. The company's two largest unions said the appointment is a setback to racial transformation, while the Economic Freedom Fighters, the second-largest opposition party, said the decision was a deliberate attempt to diminish the role Africans play in the economy.

"Redress continues to be a crucial pillar of government policy, whether it is in land reform, employment equity or in economic transformation," Mr Ramaphosa said in Monday's open letter to the country. The upper echelons of management in private companies are still dominated by white men, although they make up just 5 per cent of the economically active population, he wrote.

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"Africans only make up 15 per cent of top management, despite accounting for 79 per cent of the economically active population," he said, citing a reported released by the Commission for Employment Equity in August.

BLOOMBERG