Don't boycott Woolworths

2012-09-06 13:00

Georgina Guedes

When I saw the fervour with which tweets were flying around Woolworths' racist policies, I thought that preference had been given to a white person somewhere. How wrong I was.

It turns out that Woolworths instead gives preference to black candidates for certain advertised positions in the organisation. Now forgive me if I'm not horrified by this, but I thought this is exactly what companies in South Africa are supposed to be doing.

Calling in the experts

Because I am not a labour expert, I called a contact of mine, Linda Gouveia, a labour consultant at The Labour Workshop, to get clarity on the situation. She confirmed for me what I believed to be true:

-    That an organisation's staff profile should reflect the demographics of our country.
-    That all things being equal, preference should be given to black candidates for a position if it has been earmarked as a BEE position.

She did, however, point out to me that the spirit of the Employment Equity Act is to try to integrate more black people into the South African workforce, and not to fire white people to replace them with black staff, as has been tested in our courts in other high profile cases.

Neither of us had seen the exact wording on the Woolworths website, but a quick search showed that any advertised positions earmarked as "BEE" come with the wording "In accordance with Woolworths' Employment Equity approach, preference will be given to candidates from designated groups."

Now, it's possible - or even likely - that Woolworths has done a clean-up of their jobs site since the storm broke on Tuesday, but in the current form, there's nothing legally wrong with what they're saying. If the positions were previously advertised as “for black applicants only”, then they were definitely operating on shaky legal ground as no position is allowed to be advertised to exclude non-designated groups.

Preference not a problem

However, I'd also like to point out that this whole "preference" story is a bit of a euphemism. While Woolworths may have been remiss in not appending the appropriate wording to their job ads, even if it were in place, their employment policies remain the same. "Preference will be given to candidates from designated groups" means that a suitably qualified black person will get the job.

Unlike the people at Solidarity and Steve Hofmeyr, I'm not particularly perturbed by this. White South Africans make up just over 20% of our population. In just about any study you look at, like this one at Wikipedia, whites make up a greater proportion of the workforce than they do of the population. We're still not suffering terribly much.

I feel that employment equity policies are needed to redress the imbalances of the past. I don't think that white people should be fired to employ black people, but I do believe that without legal pressure, white-dominated workforces will continue to be white dominated. If entry level jobs tend to be more available to black candidates so that they can grow within the organisation and trickle up to infiltrate the white-heavy management levels, then so be it.

Any big organisation in South Africa is required to present an employment equity plan and reports to the Department of Labour, in line with agreed targets. Woolworths is doing exactly that. Perhaps they need to be a little more careful about their wording, but I believe that their intentions are sound. I would prefer not to waste my time applying for a position than to go through some facade for the sake of legality, and still not get the job.

So, I certainly won't be boycotting Woolworths. I support their employment equity policies, I earn points on my Woolies Black credit card and you can't beat their roast chicken.

- Georgina Guedes is a freelance writer. You can follow @georginaguedes on Twitter.

Send your comments to Georgina

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  • blignault.michaele - 2012-09-06 13:08

    Weall know that whites make up a large portion of the work force, but investigate the positions held by all [including whites] and calculate the proportion which are actually qualified, or experienced enough to do the work diligently. Do this before you write crap you know nothing about and have to "consult" your friend for advice so that you can scribe.

      beryl.knipe - 2012-09-06 13:34

      Thanks Blignault - I couldn't have said it better.

      chris.maakal - 2012-09-06 13:46

      Ronald: "Fact, Woolies is obeying SA employment equity law" ? I disagree! Why do you say Woolworths and EE laws are aligned? Have you read the employment equity laws? BIG difference in giving preference to certain groups & to exclude certain groups purely based on race.

      groen.boer - 2012-09-06 13:53

      Georgina Guedes, you dont have a clue. The original advert that sparked this uproar stated that 'African Blacks only' should apply. This is not BEE, it excludes whites, colourds, indians and any other people from even applying. This is blanket racism

      JaredVN - 2012-09-06 15:52

      Once again, one can just substitute "apartheid" for "BEE" in the so-called "argument" presented above, and it can be used unaltered to justify apartheid. I will make this simple, so that any idiot who runs a corner cafe can understand it: Racism is racism is racism, no matter whether you call it apartheid or BEE. And, because Woolworths has clearly shown its anti-white RACIST colours, my money is too white for them as well.

      michele.holmes.1238 - 2012-09-06 17:02

      you think this is bad! read the first paragraph of this SAB competition's rules: "This promotional competition (“Competition”) is run by The South African Breweries Limited (“SAB”) and is open to black persons between 18 and 35 years of age and resident in South Africa, except the employees and their immediate families of SAB, SAB’s advertising and promotion agencies, associated companies, and outlet owners and staff. [Black is used as defined by the BBBEE codes of good practice]"

      groen.boer - 2012-09-06 17:19

      It is funny to read her other article about woolworths in retrospect: She is surely on their payroll

      aaron.radebe.1 - 2012-09-06 17:34

      "White South Africans make up just over 20% of our population". Really? Which country is she talking about? Can't pay much attention top someone so ignorant and who admits she didn't even read the ads.

      leonpottie - 2012-09-06 18:19

      I just have one question: As a white business man, what will happen if I advertise in the papers for a vacant position and I say "Whites Only can apply"? What do you think will happen?

      donovan.jackson.37 - 2012-09-06 19:57

      Still amazes me that so many white people happily participate in the marginalisation and discrimination of their own kind. I'm proud to be black - no problem. I'm proud to be white - I'm a racist. Enough is enough. When laws are unjust, they should not be upheld, they should be challenged and changed (and when, exactly, did you notice your government obeying the laws it foists upon you?) Just how the paradox of 'equality with discrimination' is willingly accepted is beyond me. But I suppose that's why I'm in New Zealand (where, of course, Maori have special dispensation).

      johann.oosthuizen.980 - 2012-09-06 20:54

      Seems even the liberal English speaking community is waking up at last. Very funny.

      christiaanoosthuizen - 2012-09-06 21:04 yep she is on the payroll for sure .........

      groen.boer - 2012-09-06 22:03

      for those who want to see the original advert that caused all of this, check here on pnet:

      themba.maseko.568 - 2012-09-07 01:44

      Dear blignaut.michaele, consider our past in this arguement. White people were given more opportunities to both get qualifications and industrial experience. If black people were not able to get qualifications and experience, we would not be having black people who have achieved in industry and in academic institutions.Please,my fellow white South Africans, accept that apartheid was wrong and that the only way to address the injustices of the past is to at least to give more opportunities to the previously disadvantage part of our population

      blignault.michaele - 2012-09-07 09:29

      @Temba I agree with you totally that the past was not a desirable period in the lives of any non-white person, and I agree with you that more opportunities must be given to the previously disadvataged, but I certainly do not agree that "ALL" opportunities be provided as such as waht W/W's are eluding to.

      rob.picton.16 - 2012-09-07 11:52

      Off the Woolworths job site "In accordance with our Marketing EE Requirements, this role is designated for African Black candidates" - That is the same as saying no Indians, coloureds or whites – seems pretty exclusionary to me.

      markblack10 - 2012-09-07 12:31

      Wow, if there ever was a corporation posing as an individual to write a bias article, this is it. Ridiculous that Woolworths think South African citizens are so stupid!

      markblack10 - 2012-09-07 12:39

      Found it, LinkedIn profile of the author: Georgina Guedes is a writer and editor with over ten years’ experience in the business and IT industry. She has worked as a journalist on various publications, including BusinessBrief, SA Network Times, .net and ITWeb and she served as the editor of Brainstorm magazine. She now works as a freelance writer delivering creative, audience-appropriate content for various publications and corporations. Her clients include Absa, Standard Bank, GuruHut, Internet Solutions, Mount Grace Country House & Restaurant and The Loerie Awards. Georgina also regularly writes for African Communication, Oprah, Ideas, Your Baby, Deep SA and the Mining Magazine.

      christiaanoosthuizen - 2012-09-07 12:50

      I thought Georgina could handle criticism a bit better But by the amount of comments that have been removed she has a thin skin ...........LOL Girl grow up , cry your eyes out over the weekend , people dont think much of you. As a columnist you have lost your credibility , remember that Balar guy from sunday times .............

      andreas.meyer.12327 - 2012-09-07 14:03

      Now that's what you mix a first world and a third world population into the same system. Now the first worlders need to accommodate the third worlders.

      zeepolar - 2012-09-07 16:34

      whatever. you white people were silent when apartheid policies were excluding blacks. at least now yal know how black people felt back then.

      corne.koekemoer.1 - 2012-09-07 18:42

      Hiding behind the "Previous disadvantage" curtain will put you in a permanent disadvantage.

      leon.groenewald.33 - 2012-09-08 18:02

      Whether Woolworths "Just upholding equity laws" or are blatantly racist is of no concern. Let us take our white money elsewhere and make an example of them. Just make an example of one company to show how BEE EE and AA policies will no longer be tolerated. BTW excluding any group of people from the job market equates to genocide; because you are hobbling their ability to provide for themselves. It's a slow way of killing us whites and has definitely crushed more than one spirit. Sorry Woolworth I think us whites have chosen you to on the sword!

      ninjacraig - 2012-09-08 22:08

      Can I assume that everyone that is boycotting woolies for their role in following government policies is also boycotting paying their taxes too? It seems rather hypocritical expecting woolies to stand up against the government and risk massive fines for not having the required employment equity ratio's if you yourself are not risking jail time and penalties for not paying your taxes...

  • chris.maakal - 2012-09-06 13:16

    Georgina : Your ignorance is SHOCKING. Woolworths is NOT giving preference to Black Africans; Some posts (most of the current vacant ones on woolworths.pnet website) Whites are totally EXCLUDED. So a white disabled female cannot apply. Also, for some posts ONLY Black Africans can apply. How is this legal? Have you read the employment equity laws? Do you even know where to find them? Your journalism is bad; you don't deserve press freedom.

      chris.maakal - 2012-09-06 13:52

      Retief: Do we really have a democracy? The average voter is threatened by DEATH to vote for the incorrect party... The non-strikers are threatened by DEATH if they don't join the strike... IMHO if a journalist writes something on a news website (like news24) the journalist should check facts. If not, license to publish as a journalist should be taken away. but I get your point. In general I support press freedom. Hell even I'm still alive!

      stirrer.stirrer - 2012-09-06 14:01

      As much as I condemn Woolies and disagree with Georgina, Retief has a valid point. Georgina can write all the rubbish she wants (and she mostly does), and we have the freedom to shred her opinions to pieces.

      JaredVN - 2012-09-06 15:55

      Chris is 100% correct - "designated groups" also include white women and even white men with disabilities. The Woolworths ads were however completely against the spirit of the (already racist) legislation, and deliberately excluded white lesbians in wheelchairs. Screw you, WW - you will never see my white money again.

      aaron.radebe.1 - 2012-09-06 17:59

      The ignorance extends to the fact that she seems to believe that 20% of the population is white. You can see why, though, because if you look up South African demographics the very first table is from 1904, when whites were in indeed 20% of the population. Careless, ignorant.

      aaron.radebe.1 - 2012-09-06 18:00

      I meant if you look up South African demographics on Wikipedia

      nick.tarr.39 - 2012-09-06 22:12

      A freelance writer is not neccessarily a journalist. Its an opinion piece people...

  • malcolm.blunden - 2012-09-06 13:21

    I don't think that race should have anything to do with employment. It should be about competency. The current government is incompetent and corrupt. The proof is in the podding. We cannot afford to put uneducated people into positions which has a vast impacted on business and our economy which affects others, white or black. Apartheid is over, lets all move on. Apartheid was wrong what Woollies is doing is wrong. The constitution regarding affirmative actions is out dated, and in its current form does not mean that it is right. Discrimination in any form is wrong?

      NkululekoMhlaba - 2012-09-06 16:01

      Firstly Yes Apartheid is Over But The Results of Aparthaid Are Still Visible Go to your closest location and see it, intact seeing it is no enough go and Stay a a Location for 1 Month using our Public Transport System, Using a Toilet outside, Havin To Put Water on A Stove to Take a Bath and Using A basin. All of these are just some of the effects of apartheid. Yes the ANC is not doing its job but all of these are Apartheids doing we can forgive but we can't forget or ignore it. Secondly I have on many occasions experienced white people being prefferd I've blacks, where I have to train a person from university, they earn more than me yet I am more qualified and have more experience they get a senior position. Aswarm this question how then do we develop Black South Africans to be on the same socio economic level as White South Africans????

      johann.oosthuizen.980 - 2012-09-06 22:33

      Apartheid = Separateness. Afrikaner, Zulu, Xhosa, Sotho, Swazi, etc. all governing themselves in their own territory. Conservatism - to conserve. Your religion, language, culture, values, customs.

      silvia.vaneck2 - 2012-09-06 23:18

      Nkululeko, Do what most people who have nice things do to get a nice house and car. Get good grades at school/uni. Work hard and get a loan from a bank/building society to buy a house/car/whatever! And if you don't have a good education then blame the government. They have had 18 years to make sure that the previously disadvantaged get educated!

      andreas.meyer.12327 - 2012-09-07 14:11

      One of the results of Apartheid is that NkululekoMhlaba can read and write. And I think one should first get the rationale of separate development right, before comparing it with irrational BEE/AA.

      handy.andy.773 - 2012-09-07 16:11

      @Nkululeko - the ANC have had 18 years to manage those things - but they have only made it worse. Apartheid had many problems, but it left SA in 1994 as a country with a good education system and healthcare. Where are we now and who is to blame for it? I know you won’t admit it, but the ANC is. Affirmative Action is driving all of our skilled people away. You may think, good, more whiteys are leaving, but the reality is that this skills drainage have a huge impact on job creation, education and health care. Stop blaming other people, and start demanding that our government do what they are supposed to do. In the 80's the world targeted SA companies with sanctions to get what they want. Now it is time for us, the tax payers and the people spending money at companies like Woolworths, to get what we want. If you as a corporation want to support BEE and AA and discriminate against me, who works 55 hour weeks and pay "a moer" of a lot of tax, and who never voted during apartheid, then I will sanction you. You won’t get a cent further out of me! Lets start the fight against AA and BEE and talk with our money!!!!

      antebellum.axiom - 2012-09-07 18:49

      No Nkululeko, It's kind of funny how you did not have any public transport, baths, stoves, toilets or basins for thousands of years, but somehow its the fault of people who (ironically enough) brought all those things to Africa. It is not an effect of apartheid, its an effect of africanism. Have you been to any other african countries? Most of them are even worse off and they never had apartheid. Do you know why so many people live in poverty in SA/Africa? It is because people who cannot even take care of themselves each have 5 children who are brought up in abject poverty. They in turn do the same and the cycle continues. The remedy is quite simple, but the problem is that it will not provide the instant gratification that you desire. It wil take sacrifice and discipline. You should have fewer children and invest your resources in them so that they may have a better life than you did. Get rid of the entitlement mentality. Try to provide them with stable homes and a good education. Teach them the value of hard work and perseverence. If you do this, I gurantee you that the next generation will be alot better off than you and your forefathers were.

  • hernus.vermeulen - 2012-09-06 13:26

    Will your statement of "...organisation's staff profile should reflect the demographics of our country" be true for our government departments? I don't think so. They are acting exactly as the Apartheid government did...only employ people who likes like them. If we had a government that practice what it preaches you might have been spot on.

  • glenda.mackay.18 - 2012-09-06 13:26

    When I walk into Macdonalds, Steers, Woolworths, Edgars, Banks...... I see only BEE faces! How many more are to be employed? See none BEE faces, indian.....Only see none BEE faces at the municipality. Are the rest of South Africans to be unemployed before all BEE people are employed? Eighteen years is a long time. I come from a family that were against descremination yet now my family is suffering. Well Woolworths you will not be seeing our family!

  • barry.moyle.3 - 2012-09-06 13:28

    ?'BBBEE' is a racist instrument, anything other than equal opportunity is an admission by the ANC that blacks need a legislated advantage to compete in the workplace after 18 years of holding the reigns and basically gourging the nation's coffers. Elephants in the room are non-existent border control, the influx of illegal immigrants taking jobs in the informal sectors and being entrepreneurial unlike the locals & the fact that the white minority only make up a small percentage of the population and... Why do the locals not grab opportunity? Because they have been made promises & the government has developed a culture of expectant entitlement rather than of seizing opportunity, working hard & taking personal responsibility. I believe in equal opportunity, this is bigger than Woolworths, it is time for people to vote with their money, much as the so called 'temporary' culture of non-payment was used to try bring the previous racist regime to its knees, so it should now be used to bring the current corrupt and racist regime to its knees too.

      barry.moyle.3 - 2012-09-07 06:39

      If the ANC had just concentrated on effective education we would not still be in this mess.

      ivan.wheatley - 2012-09-11 10:42

      Barryboots. The first thing the ANC Government did was to fire most of the White Teachers (who had the knowledge) and that is why SA is the 4th Worst in the world for Education!!!

  • chrisfourielipman - 2012-09-06 13:32

    Georgina I have to ask, how much does Woolworths pay you to write crap like this? I could not give a toot what the ANC controlled government or any EE Act / BEE says, EQUAL RIGHTS should be given to all living in South Africa and NEVER must anything including employment be based on the colour of your skin.

      stirrer.stirrer - 2012-09-06 14:03

      She gets paid in roast chicken.

      markblack10 - 2012-09-07 12:43

      Off her LinkedIn: (I'm guessing they pay loads. Georgina Guedes is a writer and editor with over ten years’ experience in the business and IT industry. She has worked as a journalist on various publications, including BusinessBrief, SA Network Times, .net and ITWeb and she served as the editor of Brainstorm magazine. She now works as a freelance writer delivering creative, audience-appropriate content for various publications and corporations. Her clients include Absa, Standard Bank, GuruHut, Internet Solutions, Mount Grace Country House & Restaurant and The Loerie Awards. Georgina also regularly writes for African Communication, Oprah, Ideas, Your Baby, Deep SA and the Mining Magazine.

  • ever.ryman - 2012-09-06 13:35

    The demographics of the country or the region? The Western Cape demographic is entirely different to, say, KZN? Oh, and by the way, if you were not aware that Woolies has "cleaned up" their job site at least once since the issue began and neither you nor your "expert" have seen the exact wording, then with all due respect you should have done some groundwork before writing your article.

  • beryl.knipe - 2012-09-06 13:35

    Oh ... you won't boycott WW Georgina? So? If you're in possession of a Woolworths Black Credit Card - you're earning a fantastic salary so whatever you have to say, doesn't FIT with the normal working class. Besides, WW is blacker than ever so I don't even know what all the fuss is about!

      pieter0827006294 - 2012-09-06 14:08

      lol. A Stirrer, you are!

      markblack10 - 2012-09-07 12:48

      She works for woolworths: She lied on her LinkedIn Profile, 'audience appropriate', she didn't realize that South African's are not as stupid as she thinks: Georgina Guedes is a writer and editor with over ten years’ experience in the business and IT industry. She has worked as a journalist on various publications, including BusinessBrief, SA Network Times, .net and ITWeb and she served as the editor of Brainstorm magazine. She now works as a freelance writer delivering creative, audience-appropriate content for various publications and corporations. Her clients include Absa, Standard Bank, GuruHut, Internet Solutions, Mount Grace Country House & Restaurant and The Loerie Awards. Georgina also regularly writes for African Communication, Oprah, Ideas, Your Baby, Deep SA and the Mining Magazine.

  • joao.r.oliveira1 - 2012-09-06 13:38

    The reality is that our communities are far more integrated than such polices give recognition to. For example a white person with black children, and black employees would be disadvantaged on the basis of such polices which would also disadvantage their black dependents. How would such polices be beneficial to the dependent blacks in this case? A black person with no depends receiving preference of a white person with black depends. This instrument of justice is far to blunt to bring about a just outcome. The ends seldom justify the means and it seems unlikely to me that with such policies the ends will ever truly be achieved, if those include a harmonious and united society and not a divided and embittered one.

      sao.t.marques - 2012-09-07 09:15

      There will NEVER be a harmonious and united society in South Africa. People (mostly whites) who think that are just living in La La Land. How can there ever be if this government is just as racist as the previous one? The embitteredment runs too deep. Whites should not have any black dependents. Ever seen a black family with white dependents?? And, boy, are there many affluent black families nowdays! But yes, your question is quite valid. Sao Marques.

  • hugo.herselman - 2012-09-06 13:41

    I boycotted Woolworths before it was cool. I really don't understand why everyone is making such a big fuss? Those who shop at Woolworths as part of their religion couldn't care less about BEE/AA. As long as they have the status boost, anything goes.

      Jason - 2012-09-06 18:35

      @Sarah, I hope more South Africans have my outlook on things and not yours. your way of thinking will get nobody nowhere very fast. pull your head out your ass and look around.

  • pieter0827006294 - 2012-09-06 13:43

    "That all things being equal" Fact is, they are not following the rules, hence the "Storm in a teacup". They are supposed to take applications and find suitable candidates from ALL Races. Next, they should identify the most qualified individual and then(only then)if there are a white person and a Black/Indian/Coloured person, who are both equally qualified, can they select the person of color based on the color of his/her skin. Woolworths explicitly advertise that no applications for white people will be accepted, automatically disqualifying me as an applicant based on the color of my skin

      pieter0827006294 - 2012-09-06 13:53

      People who decide to boycott Woolworths also probably don't need to apply for a job with them anyway. If South Africans do not defend their constitutional rights, we will lose them. It is therefore the ones that are prepared to discomfort themselves by boycotting who are the ones who are willing to make sacrifices to defend my rights. You, on the other hand don't need to as you are clearly not in need of their protection and you clearly don't stand for anything. Enjoy your roasted chicken madam!

      eben.terblanche.1 - 2012-09-07 04:35

      I completely agree. If you are able to boycott Woolworths you are basically complaining with the crusty white bread under your arm. The rest of us will look, smile, shake our heads and continue to shop at Checkers.

  • eposius.fulious - 2012-09-06 13:51

    Georgina, Georgina, Georgina... Unfortunately the only thing I really got out of your article was the fact that you simply lack conviction to follow through with anything, much like many other white South Africans. While your rights are squeezed out from very existence, you make sure to write these wonderful opinion pieces that really compel a person to do absolutely nothing. Claim your ignorance to Labour Law and claim your general ignorance to life, but don't use it as an excuse for your ability to do absolutely nothing. People like you really delude your minds into believing the utter foolishness that exists in your mind. It's sad when that foolishness is allowed to be put into words that many can read.

  • jan.botha.5 - 2012-09-06 13:54

    If whites make up 20% of the population why is it virtually impossible to see a white face in many companies, Woolworths included. Seems to me that such companies are going for 95% black employment way above the legislated figure. In any case its supposed to be EE Employment Equity, not BEE. White females are supposed to have the same chances of employment as any black candidate

      Jenny - 2012-09-07 17:44

      Nowadays, I find myself doing a double take when I do see a white face employed in supermarkets, the post office, banks etc. Where have all the whities gone? Gone to flowers every one (with apologies to Bob Dylan).

  • dieter.muller.942145 - 2012-09-06 13:55

    Sam Wilson - ex editor of women24 - and now woolies editor or whatever - getting help from all her friends ...

      stack - 2012-09-06 14:14

      And she's white and was recently employed by Woolworths hmmmmmmmm makes you think

      dieter.muller.942145 - 2012-09-06 14:33

      yeah, so she will be fired soon ... poor soul!

      christiaanoosthuizen - 2012-09-06 15:34

      taking one for the team she is......stupid of her to put her face on it. For articles like this you should never divulge your name or face your fellow whites might just not greet you for a few years .lol Well stupidity has its own rewards , ............

  • herman.bester.58 - 2012-09-06 13:56

    Shame georgie girl, seems youve not made many friends here.

      Jason - 2012-09-06 18:38

      She never makes friends, her articles are always watery with no true fact and smack of her own unhappiness. Definitely been hurt by a man before.

  • wayne.bone.56 - 2012-09-06 13:57

    So Rome burns further, so long if does not effect me as a white bugger all the other whitey's.Seems like there is a bunch of consumer Zombies here.Stupidity is always defended from most of the writers here.

  • sol.bezuidenhout - 2012-09-06 14:03

    Guys seriously. Inequality in this country has been going on for years (both ways). Go onto the Careerjunction site and consider how many jobs are advertised as EE ONLY. UCT supports different qualifying criteria for different race groups. Its been going on for 10 years. Why is this issue with Woolies so important when all of us have been supporting injustice and subject to if for years? This is not a problem with Woolworths. Its much bigger than that.

      duane.blignault - 2012-09-06 15:54

      we have to make a start somewhere.

      Jason - 2012-09-06 18:39

      This isnt about Bee or AA, its about whites being completely excluded. Read the laws.

      ninjacraig - 2012-09-07 17:02

      People just love the bandwagon that's why... Oh, and lots of people that have never shopped at woolies enjoy pretending that they will now 'stop' shopping there

  • steve.modlin - 2012-09-06 14:03

    Georgina, I am did not take much digging to find the job advert in question (there may be more). In fact here is the link for your information: You can clearly see in the body of the ad the following text: "Woolworths is committed to the principles of employment equity DESIGNATED EE - (African, Coloured & Indian only)" Unless my eyes deceive me, this clearly excludes whites. As others and your own expert have stated, the EE laws (however flawed) are designed to give preference to certain groups but not to the exclusion of others. In other words companies should still be allowing anyone to apply for a job but when it comes down to their final decision, if they have a suitably qualified EE candidate then they can and should give that individual preference. If, however they have no such suitably qualified candidate then there is no reason why the position should not be given to a white person. To do anything else is in my opinion a contravention of the Constitution and blatantly racist. There is a fine line that companies need to walk with the EE laws and unfortunately for South Africa some companies have slipped into the abyss.

      Michael - 2012-09-06 16:12

      You can also read they say they are commited to employment equity, which means having a representative workforce. If they feel they are overly white in a particular area, what's wrong with making sure you hire EE into that department? get a grip people! It's not to say that every single position is EE designated.

  • dieter.muller.942145 - 2012-09-06 14:06

    It is important to make an example of Woolies ... other companies will learn from Woolies' mistake .... !!!

      michele.holmes.1238 - 2012-09-06 17:52

      That is mostly the whole point! What if companies started saying "screw you" to the anC and their racist policies? What would the anC do? Kick them all out and lose out on all that tax they could steal? No, its time we put pressure on these companies and get the ball rolling.

  • rainer.jad - 2012-09-06 14:18

    "That an organisation's staff profile should reflect the demographics of our country."...Shouldn't 90% of your stores then be in rat infested townships?

      richard.hipkin - 2012-09-07 15:35

      And the racists emerge strong in this comment section...

      tw2066 - 2012-09-07 18:59

      Yeah the racists emerge - its ... its ...its Woolworths!!

  • corne.schalkwyk - 2012-09-06 14:20

    It’s time we had a fully inclusive country, we need to move on and build South Africa. Wasn’t that the dream? Woolies and our flying circus should start taking their customers seriously. Word play to cover up blatant racist ads and policies isn’t enough. A level playing field is what is needed to grow a country. It’s time to spend our money where we see change (and no I don’t mean the ANC version of change). It become a matter of principal . I hope and pray the “Public” white and black will stand together this time and make the change they want to see.

  • syd.harling - 2012-09-06 14:21

    It was the wording that whites are excluded from applying that is making us boycott them. The law doesn't say no one can hire whites, it says demographics should be followed. In the factory where I used to work the labour force was about 350 of which one was white. The Trade Union actually queried why there weren't more whites so as to bring the numbers into line with local demographics. Get you facts straight Ms Guedes.

  • dewalds3 - 2012-09-06 14:27

    Well, I WILL be boycotting Woolies (and SAA).

      koos.dabulamanzi - 2012-09-11 16:09

      wow so by boycotting woolies u think they are gonna go bankrupt, so u r then agreeing wth malema whn he says the economy of this country is in the hands of the white minority so our so we really do need such policies to balance things

  • bretton.eveleigh - 2012-09-06 14:27

    Georgina, your position is based on hearsay. Any proper journalist would seek out the facts. Woolworths should release a press statement to clarify their actual position. The fact that they have not done so speaks volumes, the WW media spin doctors are working overtime! Until then this article is dribble, and I'll boycott Woolworths. In this case I'm happy to assume they guilty until they prove otherwise.

  • sol.bezuidenhout - 2012-09-06 14:31

    There are almost 1300 jobs advertised on Careerjunction for EE only! Are we going to make an example of Media24 too, who published this article in the first place? You are such f^(%king hypocrites. Sons and daughter of the Tokyo Sexwhale's of this world are PDA's because they are black. Bottom line. This is not a problem with Woolworths. Lets then make an example of the other 1300 too Media24!

  • anna.mamparra - 2012-09-06 14:36

    Ignorant and stupid. Wonder how many woolies vouchers they paid you with.

  • amused.reader.7 - 2012-09-06 14:43

    As a white who didnt vote for the ANC i have no control over government policy. As a white with children about to join the job market, i think it is grossly unfair that my children must score higher marks to go to university, and then, once they are qualified, be overlooked on the basis of their colour. As a South African i think it is shortsighted to prejudice against people on the basis of race, IF they are the best candidate, and can see how this will drive skilled citizens elsewhere, wher they dont face prejudice. As a white, i cant change the governments policy, even though i dont agree with it. I can register my protest in other ways, and i think it is about time that white South Africans shook off their guilt, and stood up for themselves in creating a better future for our children. If that makes me a racist, then so be it. You put my family first, i make no apology for putting mine first too. Lastly, Georgina, just remember, you HAVE a job !! (ps. Before any yells apartheid, i wasnt even here, i am a post 94 foreign investor!!)

      amused.reader.7 - 2012-09-06 14:44

      Should read ... You put your family first, I make no apology for putting mine first too

  • wesleyhite - 2012-09-06 14:54

    I left South Africa when I was 9 years old - I now live in New Zealand. I'm shocked, and a bit disgusted to find out that South Africa has a legitimized racial preference rule with respect to employment. Where is the fairness in handicapping a person's opportunity in life on the basis of their skin colour. I'm all for equality, but these policies create the opposite - the criteria should be one of equal opportunity, based on competency to carry out the work. If you're the best candidate, the job should be yours, irrespective of whether your black, white, coloured, indian..

      mkhululi.mnyaka - 2012-09-06 19:57

      Many white people simply do not appreciate that the transition to democracy did not have to unfold in the way that it did. The transition created a democracy while leaving the commanding heights of the economy still in white hands, and the government’s Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment strategy has largely failed to change this racialised economic structure. The ANC could have insisted on widespread expropriation of property without compensation: an entirely justifiable position given the historic dispossession of black people. Instead of recognising and appreciating black magnanimity, racists are rebuffing the hand of reconciliation that has been extended to them.

      justin.pretorius - 2012-09-06 22:16

      @ Mkhululi.Mnyaka that we should be grateful the ANC did not take everything from whites? What would have been left after this? I think you are seriously mistaken in believing that whites would have just bent over and took it without lubrication - the ANC did not even believe that the NP would hand over the country that is why they signed the agreements! Read Andrew Feinstein's book and understand the ANC are nothing more than African Nationalists

      silvia.vaneck2 - 2012-09-06 23:37

      Mkhululi, Even if you took all the land and all the whites possessions in SA and distributed it amongst black people,it would not make a difference to the lives of the recipients. Rather be angry at the government for not sorting out the education deficit and for not creating more jobs!!

  • arthur.hugh - 2012-09-06 15:01

    Aah well I always prefer getting my food at the organic markets, even if they're a bit more expensive. Up yours WW! Georgina, you bleddy agent!

  • sam.swanpoel - 2012-09-06 15:36

    I suggest you go to some to some of their stores and count the numbers before you make comment. Sorry very few whites.

  • duane.blignault - 2012-09-06 15:36

    We know that BEE & EE is written into law and is applied by all South African companies, these are however not laws that we voted for but which are laws that are going to impact our survival in the long run. The only way to make an impact and be heard is by using our wallets and affect tax revenue - maybe large companies like Woolworths will be able to campaign to abolish these practices once it hits their bottom line - I'm open to alternate suggestions that will have the same affect. Education is key and should have been the primary focus over the last 18yrs - we would most likely not be in this situation if this were the case.

  • dionne.barnard - 2012-09-06 15:39

    Say what you want, i will never agree, it is racism. The white, coloured,indian and asian male in sa is doomed. You better believe it. Let's not try and change angles of looking at it.

  • gillian.stewart.54 - 2012-09-06 15:40

    You say the Policies are needed to redress the imbalances of the past. BUT for how long... We are already out of balance but the other way around

  • lazlo.roux - 2012-09-06 15:40

    How about we then apply the same practices in the civil service. Tell me how many whites work in the civil service? I can guarantee you not even 5%. If the government wants to make rules then they should lead by example.

  • debra.moldenhauer - 2012-09-06 15:46


  • sipho.songa - 2012-09-06 15:48


  • mike.crawford.54772 - 2012-09-06 15:49

    Wow... how much did they pay you? Their shares are plummeting, so someone has to stand up for them and do damage control. Good tactic, I must say, just very transparent......

  • luke.bunding - 2012-09-06 15:50

    Woolies is doing the exact sane thing as every other comapny in this country .I saw a job online a couple months ago and saw that the contact person was somebody I knew...I emailed her and asked if she thought I had a chance getting the job....her reply was \we only looking for black people\.the ad says one thing but the company already knows they want to empoy a black person.what's the point in me studying and trying to better myself if I'm going to lose out in a job opportunity to a person less educated but black. The country is taking this apartheid thing way over board and its actually becoming sickening and ridiculous .then they first too talk about equal rights!SA is going to sh*t ! t

      justin.pretorius - 2012-09-06 22:20

      You are right Luke, if you are white and male I would seriously think carefully about what you will study for your career! Things such as AA/BEE must be factored into one's decisions. Rather become a plumber or electrician and become your own boss. You can also emigrate more easily with a trade and you will earn more money than people studying for many years with worthless degrees. Remember there are no equal rights in SA, only ANC rights

  • christopher.taliakis - 2012-09-06 15:51

    Overpriced food, and pretencious packaging by the way great pr job your doing.I have a list it goes woolworths, south African airways as well as engen, let's not forget KFC there are more to come let's boycott there high prices and other policies, and another one bites the dust lets drop there share price and my roast chicken is way better are you that lazy you can't turn on your oven and cook a chicken.

  • moniqueleroux81 - 2012-09-06 15:53

    seems to me woolies isnt employing many people seen as when you are in the shop there is never anyone around to help you!

  • tomvanzyl.75 - 2012-09-06 15:55

    Really now, you obviously HAVE a job and are NOT down and out like some white South Africans who is struggling to find a job, and would take ANY position, should they just be allowed to get it! So please dont write a whole article about how Whites are not being affected by this if you dont have first hand experience!

  • johanvdm81 - 2012-09-06 16:00

    wow, you do know how to write a provocative story out of an emotional topic! good for the ratings, good for the pay! your opinions tend to be a bit on the mediocre middle ground, i thought. but yeah, you are right, us whites dont suffer much, if we do, its not for long, and same goes for blacks and coloured and indian, etc etc. enjoy your roast chicken, don't forget the malva pudding as well as a copy of the "Daily Voice". loads of emotion-loaded topics in there which you can use to provoke your fans and nothing more.

  • krugernina - 2012-09-06 16:01

    The only reason for the fact that there is still more whites in the South African Workforce is because we are not prepared to live in shacks, because we want the best for our children(whom by the looks of it will never get a job in South Africa). We are prepared to work without plotting on how to commit fraud - how to make money on any other way but to work. It's always been like that - and then you stand a better chance to end up in Parliament afterwords...those with the best ideas on how to take money from the Government!!!! I would rather apply for a job and then know the person who got it other than me is really qualified to do it!!! That way I know if I ever have to deal with that company, hospital, library, municipality...what ever the case might be - you will get to someone with savvy and brains. Someone that REALLY belongs in that position whether they white, black or brown.

  • tomvanzyl.75 - 2012-09-06 16:02

    Really Georgina?! You obviously HAVE a job and are completely unaware that there are thousands of White South African's out there who has been trying to find a job for months and in some cases, years! So please dont talk about Whites NOT struggling when these jobless Whites would probably take a position at Woolworths if they were only allowed to get the job in the first place!

  • bernice.smith.1276 - 2012-09-06 16:06

    While I don't begrudge the "previously disadvantaged" for having the opportunity to get into the work place in positions currently dominated by whites - this would have been perfect in 1994. It is now almost 20 years since they've had the upper hand so to speak, now the playing fields have to be leveled! That excuse is no longer valid!!

  • stephen.j.dickson.3 - 2012-09-06 16:12

    Fire this snobbish Woolworths loving bitch, replace her with a Black and see how she likes it. Not that we would notice much cos they both spew sanctimonious, bleeding heart,woe is me I'm a victim drivel anyhow. She and others of her white,snobbish Woolworths loving ilk have got it too good in this country and are obviously sell-out, ANC butt licking tenderpreneurs who've amassed ill-gotten wealth by deceitful means and fleecing the regular man in the street so that they can afford a blatant luxurious lifestyle on the overpriced food-stuffs on offer by Woolworths. I for one hope the boycott comes off and as a consequence puts all the royal game/protected species types that this bitch obviously holds so dear in her heart, out of work along with the white turncoat,overpaid management.

  • Hanno.Labuschagne - 2012-09-06 16:19

    Hey Georgina, it's easy for a white employed person with financial security and a full time job to defend BEE. Try being a young white South African looking for a job and shaddupa ya face. Just btw, if you go to school or university, you'll actually learn that wikipedia is not a valid source.

      sbisschoff - 2012-09-06 16:36

      Totally with you Hanno, this story is appalling short-sighted.

  • djjessicaking - 2012-09-06 16:20

    Yesss finally somebody who makes sense!

      lezdart - 2012-09-06 21:15

      someone is having their Moon time

  • MonsRo - 2012-09-06 16:22

    Can you explain how you as a journalist can write such an article without having read or seen the ad! The mind boggles!!!!