Ramaphosa drawn into IS race row

2010-05-08 08:50

Top businessman Cyril Ramaphosa is

awaiting a report from Investment ­Solutions (IS) after news that the firm fired

a black investment analyst for ­allegedly criticising its failure to promote

black people to senior positions.

“We are waiting for a report from the company regarding this

matter. I read about this in the media like ­everybody else. The issue raised is

­clearly challenging, but I will be able to respond after I have received the

report,” he said.

Ramaphosa’s Shanduka Group has a 25%

black empowerment stake in IS, the asset management arm of Alexander Forbes. It

has another 25% in Alex Forbes, the pension fund administrator.

IS manages R152 billion on behalf of 1 900 clients, including

pension funds and corporations.

Last week City Press disclosed how four IS executives orchestrated

a plot to axe Unathi Ndlovu, an investment analyst, allegedly for “poor

performance”.

Five sources with links to the company told City Press that Ndlovu

was ­dismissed after she questioned IS’s ­implementation of its transformation

policies, which allegedly flouted ­employment equity laws. An e-mail leaked to

City Press revealed how Glenn Silverman, the company’s chief investment officer

for global ­business, asked three of his colleagues to back a plan to force

Ndlovu out of the firm by November last year.

In the e-mail, Silverman described ­Ndlovu as an “adept politician”

and a “wound that needs to be excised”.

The departure of Peter Moyo, a former chief executive at Alexander

Forbes, in 2007 led Ramaphosa to publicly

­disclose that he had considered disinvesting in the group.

At the time he cited his frustrations over a perceived lack of

transformation as the reason for his public disclosure.

Moyo’s departure was linked to the company’s decision to bring in

Bruce Campbell as an executive chairperson.

It has been more than two years since the incident occurred, but IS

has shown little improvement in transformation.

An employment equity review conducted last year by the labour

department found that the company was dominated by white men at senior and

­middle management levels, and that whites, by and large, were earning more than

their black counterparts.

The labour department’s assessment led to the drawing up of IS’s

equity plan, which was intended to redress racial imbalances at the firm. Ndlovu

allegedly clashed with her bosses over the plan.

IS managing director, Derrick Msibi said he would develop black

people with the ­potential to take over senior positions. He admitted this week

that the asset manager needed to double its ­efforts to darken skin pigmentation

at the top.

Labour department director-general Jimmy Manyi said he would call

for an urgent meeting with IS to get to the ­bottom of the allegations.

“If these allegations are true... then the company has breached

the agreement signed not only with the labour ­department but with the people of

South Africa in relation to the transformation agenda of this country.

“During a substantive assessment, IS was found to be wanting in

complying with certain provisions of the Employment Act and, as a result, the

company was issued with recommendations to comply with the law.”



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