In March 2015 the Department of Trade and Industry in South Africa committed to funding a program that would see $67.6 million making its way into the industrial sector to create more black industrialists and engineers. The program was set up to further diversify the working force behind industrialists and engineers in the country.
Pricewaterhouse Coopers summarized the basic operations of the program. They wrote: “The concept of black industrialists refers to black people who are directly involved in the origination, creation, high-level ownership (>50%), management, control and operation of industrial enterprises that derive value from manufacturing goods and services on a large scale, thereby acting to unlock the productive potential of our country’s capital assets for massive local employment. Government is essentially looking for black industrialists who not only make long-term commitments to business but are also medium-to-long-term investors.”
The sectors that will influence the employing of engineers in the country are as follows:
“We believe there is room for participation of many black entrepreneurs in the manufacturing sector as industrialists,” said President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma. “They will be able to benefit from amongst others the incentives provided for in the industrial policy action plan and the host of manufacturing incentives that government provides. We believe the black industrialist policy framework is the right formula to transform the industrial landscape.”
The program is geared towards encouraging black entrepreneurs to broaden their skill sets and find a future in engineering industries. It could also influence black engineers to pursue their dreams and get their competency in industries that are now seeing more job creation due to the move.
The Trade and Industry Deputy Minister, Mzwandile Masina, said that the program would ensure that more black leadership roles would be opened up in industries where black people are normally laborers and factory workers.
The diversification of employees in the STEM industry is an issue that South Africa takes seriously due to its unbalanced past.