Last week, Andile Ngcaba , revealed that Dimension Data's Middle East & Africa subsidiary was possibly involved in institutionalized racism as his white counterparts, at executive management level, were part of a long-term incentive scheme that he was excluded from. Worse, some white junior staff members are rumored to have also been part of the same scheme.
It's important to note that Ngcaba is the former chairperson of Dimension Data. He recently stepped down from the various positions he held within the company as a result of his investment company, Convergence Partners, announcing that it hadexited its investment in Dimension Data on 27 July 2017.
Now, Ngcaba explainedto iAfrikan that "the decision to exit Dimension Data as an empowerment partner was a natural consequence of the unwinding of a BEE transaction and is completely unrelated,". He also confirmed that he has a "matter pertaining to discrimination and unfair remuneration practices lodged against Dimension Data with South Africa's Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA)."
When I read the initialstory by the Business Day I wasn't exactly shocked. This is South Africa after all, a country with a history of apartheid. I could've told you about the rather curious demographics of South Africa's ICT sector back in 2014 (in fact I did), and why part of the reason it is like that has to do with a poor public education system (as far as STEM subjects are concerned). The thing is, the "rather curious demographics" exist across the board in South Africa's technology ecosystem, more than two decades into the democracy.
We can debate the reasons why this is so until we are blue (or navy blue, or red, or yellow, or pink, or orange, pick acolour) but what intrigued me was if this happened to someone like Ngcaba, what more about the junior black staff members at Dimension Data. Not only Dimension Data, but all ICT companies in South Africa?
You might want to stretch it and try to give the management at Dimension Data the benefit of the doubt and say perhaps it wasn't because of the levels of melanin that Ngcaba has but the alleged fact that it seems to be based on skin colour and Dimension Data's subsequent silence on the issue is concerning.
Which brings me to this: racism, or any kind of discrimination, in some cases, is not about what is done to you but what you are excluded from, quietly. The opportunities you should be exposed to, but are not because you're black .
Here's to hoping the CCMA case sheds more light on this.
📂 Dimension Data
└📁 Incentive Scheme
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This article first appeared on 4 September 2017 in the iAfrikan Weekly Digest Newsletter, a Pan Afrikan weekly digest of the most important stories of the week which includes insights and analysis on the most topical story of the week. Subscribe here to the weekly digest and receive it every Monday morning at 06h00 Central African Time.