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Ninety percent of top and senior managers at Dischem are white men


The furore over the leaked memo from Dis-Chem CEO Ivan Saltzman last month has largely died down.

In the memo, Saltzman announced a moratorium on the hiring of white managers in an effort to improve its transformation objectives.

The retailer’s board rushed to apologise for the letter's tone but noted that its “intention” would remain.

The group’s disclosure of the composition of its workforce in its annual report is limited. It states that 84.5% of its roughly 20 000 employees are black, Indian or coloured and 63% are female.

There is no detailed breakdown.

However, buried in the group’s consolidated environment, the social and governance (ESG) data table for 2022 is a view of just how poorly the group is performing regarding the transformation of its leadership team.

Astonishingly, just 5% of Dis-Chem’s “top and senior management” are women and only 11% are defined as “Historically Disadvantaged South Africans” (HDSAs).

This definition incorporates all women, including white women.

In other words, practically nine out of every 10 top and senior managers at Dis-Chem Group are white men.

It does not disclose how many management positions fall into the ‘top’ and ‘senior’ categories.

It is no wonder Saltzman has frozen the hiring or promotion of white managers.

In a statement last week, Dis-Chem maintained there “is simply no ban on employing and promoting white individuals” and that: “All appointments at junior, middle and senior management level will require CEO approval, and appointments will be made based on merit and the necessity of giving employment preference to previously disadvantaged individuals.”

Last week, Solidarity said it planned to take the retailer to the Labour Court as it argues the policy “goes beyond what the Employment Equity Act allows”.

It intended to serve papers on Dis-Chem last week but has not yet confirmed whether this was done.

For more on this story visit www.moneyweb.co.za