An application for a job has just been published. The position being advertised is for a researcher in marketing. The contract being offered is fixed term. The position being offered is in Cape Town. The requirements are ‘Employment Equity Only’. But there’s a sting in the tail for the employer.

The contract being offered is fixed term. The position being offered is in Cape Town. The applicant Researcher will be responsible for the design, execution, and delivery of research projects, from taking a brief to presenting the results on appropriate platforms.

A strategist at heart, the applicant should have the ability to translate research findings into business insights that add value to the organisation and its customers. The person appointed must be able to confidently present these insights to different audiences. 

The requirements are a degree or postgraduate degree in Business Science, Economics, Tourism or a related field with a minimum of 3 – 5 years’ experience working in the research industry. The successful applicant must have experience in conducting quantitative and qualitative research, have research skills, project management skills, analytical ability, relationship building skills, teamwork and negotiation skills, basic commercial skills (cost and time management,) strong presentation skills, proficiency in MS Office Suite with Advanced Microsoft Excel experience, excellent people skills and a friendly manner.

This extraordinary candidate must speak and write English, and at least speak one other official language fluently.

The organisation is ‘committed to Employment Equity; in line with our employment equity plan, preference will be given to a suitably qualified and experienced equity candidates.’

The organisation is Cape Town Tourism which is an entity belonging to the Cape Town City Council (Council). The Council is run by the Democratic Alliance (DA), the same DA whose support for a better-managed, fairer version of the African National Congress’s (ANC) Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) contributed to the loss of support for the DA from its loyal, traditional support base in the national elections.

As far back as February 2019, political analyst Amanda Gouws said that the DA‘s plan to offer a remodelled version of the ANC’s BEE policy to voters might backfire.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane said: “BBBEE (broad-based black economic empowerment) is a redress policy. The ANC has its own model, and our model says, give equity to employees, educate people, develop enterprises and broaden inclusion.”

Maimane said that “On the matter of redress and empowerment, we have not decided to move away from race-based redress policies, however, we unequivocally reject the ANC’s version of redress which operates to enrich and re-enrich the connected elite.” 

Gouws said she found it strange that the DA planned to remodel BBBEE. “It’s very interesting because (it) at first said that it would consider disadvantaged black communities. “What we need to ask ourselves is whether this is the DA scoring political points,” she said. 

Ivan Meyer, DA deputy federal chairperson, expressed excitement at the remodelled BEE. “We don’t reject it; we want to remodel it.  We discussed it at the federal council and it received overwhelming support from the party.”

In August 2018 the DA said that it had taken a decision to seek a “broader economic empowerment framework”. The DA’s then head of policy, Gwen Ngwenya said the party’s highest policy decision-making body had taken the decision back in July 2018.

The report, entitled “Vula: The ‘open’ economy, open for business”, presented at the DA federal council meeting, stated that the party should dump the policy and replace it with an environment social governance (ESG) index that removed race from the scorecard.

Hilariously, ANC former national spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said it showed the DA would bring back apartheid once in government.

“This represents what the DA’s values are. Their notion of redress does not exist in their policy and it is evident that if the DA would be in government it would bring back apartheid.

“If they are talking about broadening its inclusivity, it means that they must redress.”

On the day that Ngwenya made public the removal of the race score-card, News24 followed up a story announcing that the ‘DA’s highest decision-making body ditches BEE’, with one that would state: “DA’s federal council chairperson James Selfe has disputed claims that the opposition party has decided to do away with its BEE policy and search for a broader economic empowerment policy.”

Ngwenya resigned shortly afterwards over differences on the direction of policy. According to Ngwenya after her resignation: “All the confusion and contradiction returned, as the party machinery went into overdrive in response to what it saw as a direct threat to its electoral prospects the following year, and which it believed were now intricately linked to the perception that the DA supports race-based policy in general and BEE in particular. Any pretence of internal debate was shut down and, as with Wilmot James in years gone by, the full force of party communications was exercised to suppress any possible doubt or confusion on the subject. The policy process would continue behind the scenes but only nominally; any appetite for debate or discussion had instantaneously evaporated.”

The inappropriate responses to the false allegations levied at a teacher in Schweizer-Reneke by DA leaders and its illiberal policy on BEE saw an expected (if not by the DA leadership) first drop in voter support since 1994.

This should have been an election in which the DA improved its support and possibly, taken Gauteng. Now it is in a political no-man’s land and will never regain the support of the white, rural heartland which had supported it for over two decades.

The DA leadership was arrogant in assuming that its conservative support wasn’t important. It is suffering hubris as a result and its intention to clarify policy and look at its leadership is not apparent.

Young people who have been excluded from jobs such as the one referred to did not vote for the DA again, seeing its policies as inimical to their interests. It may be too late but it certainly wouldn’t hurt the DA to start by removing barriers to entries to the jobs it offers.

Sara Gon is head of strategic engagement at the IRR.

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