Women not represented in management of fuels industry


Energy minister concerned over few women at top of liquid fuels industry

A lack of black women at the executive level of the liquid fuels industry is a concern to the Minerals and Energy Minister, Lindiwe Hendricks.

Speaking at a review of compliance to the Liquid Fuels Charter, Ms Hendricks said that of the total employees in the energy sector, only 26 percent are women. "These women are concentrated in the lower levels of the employment ladder,' she said.

Of the 56 percent top black management, only 12 percent are women, the minister said, adding that at the executive-directorship level, women comprised a meagre one percent.

She explained that this could have been caused by the fact that the Charter did not specify a percentage representation on gender.

"Our Liquid Fuels Charter makes broad statements of intent with no specific indicators which could be used as a reference and standard measurement to compliance,' she said.

For this reason, Ms Hendricks suggested that the sector could emulate the Trade and Industry department (dti) by establishing a Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) scorecard and Codes of Good Practice.

"This industry may consider developing its own scorecard on the basis of the dti model,' she said.

However, she also said that there was progress in compliance with the Charter.
"The liquid fuels industry now employs 8 817 people; of these, 68 percent are black and this is an increase of three percent since 2003.

"The element of employment equity has shown considerable improvement. Black people are well represented at the top management scale with the percentage of all directors currently at 56 percent,' she said.

The Minister indicated that she was pleased that most BEE companies have an ownership deal.

These deals, she said, were expected to confer legal and effective black shareholding through voting rights, rights to economic interests and sustainable business.

"These deals are also expected to confer operational control of the companies via proportional control of influential position,' she said.

But she said the sector needed to go back to the drawing board and strategise effective ways to ensure that the sector fully complies with the Charter.

The Liquid Fuels Charter was signed in 2000 to address social and economic inequalities and to achieve sustainable ownership and control by historically-disadvantaged South Africans in a quarter of all facets of the liquid fuels industry.

By Themba Gadebe - BuaNews