Old Mutual unit in racism row

A number of workers at an Old Mutual subsidiary have accused their colleagues of rampant racism.

Black employees at African Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM) have allegedly been subjected to extreme cruelty and victimisation by their white senior colleagues, according to a series of letters an anonymous source sent to City Press.

Efforts to address the matter were allegedly met with more cruelty.

“Old Mutual is a shareholder of 36 renewable energy projects and is about to sign an additional six in the pending Round 4.

“Please do whatever you can to intervene urgently. If you involve the department of energy, they must never ask the IPP (Independent Power Producers) office to handle this as this office will do nothing.

"The IPP office is more concerned about its survival than anything else. Also, this must be addressed directly with Old Mutual and not the AIIM,” reads part of a letter.

Asked about the allegations, Old Mutual said it was investigating.

The company did not respond to further questions about the racial composition of the AIIM’s organogram or the number of times the company had been notified of the alleged racism at the AIIM.

“Old Mutual is aware of allegations of discrimination and lack of diversity at the AIIM, one of its subsidiaries.

"Old Mutual does not tolerate any form of racism or unfair discrimination in the workplace. We are dealing with this matter urgently through our internal processes,” the company said.

Another accusation levelled against the company is that blacks serve no purpose other than to meet BEE requirements. “As black employees, we are only useful as ‘ornaments’ to be paraded around and used for reporting to meet BBBEE requirements.

"Otherwise, on a daily basis, the so-called ‘leadership’ is disrespectful and condescending towards us.

“Regardless of our expertise, experience or skills, we are always made to feel that we are never good enough,” a letter to City Press reads.

According to another letter, a culture of fear pervades at the AIIM offices and executives do not take complaints seriously.

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