The Nangle Report
Canadian Businesses In South Africa
Publisher: Development Education Centre, Canada
Year Published: 1977
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX378
Abstract: This report contains a series of atticles written by Hugh Nangle of the Montreal Gazette. Nangle examines the working conditions and wage levels of blacks employed by Canadian-owned subsidiaries in South Africa. He begins: "An investigation of the South African, Southern Rhodesian, and Namibian(South West Africa) subsidiaries and operations of Alcan, Ford, Falconbridge, Bata and Sun Life Assurance Company, merely emphasizes that Canadian corporate involvement is a handsome vehicle for entrenching the present infamous racial systems"
A survey of these corporations reveals that only the Ford Motor Company subsidiary pays all its workers above the recognized wage necessary for an African family to avoid malnutrition. The Canadian government generally takes an ambivalent stance on this issue; while condemning racial oppression, it seeks to accommodate Canadian businesses which are attracted by the better than normal opportunities for trade and investment in the growing South African economy. Ottawa is also hesitant to reveal facts and figures surrounding Canadian investment in South Africa. The Canadian companies' policy of paying low wages to black workers has been condemned by Canadian and international organizations; however, acceptance of the South African system serves the companies' purpose - good profits and small manpower expenditures. Mangle claims that industry is the most sophisticated tool for ensuring that white minority rule is maintained; any concessions allowed by the companies have been forced by labour unrest. In one article, Nangle analyzes the relationship between Massey-Ferguson Ltd. and its black employees. Between 1962 and 1972, this Toronto controlled company doubled its assets and profits. Of 733 black employees at one of its plants (in Vereeniging), 642 are paid less than the Poverty Datum Line (PDL). The PDL establishes a less than adequate living standard that cannot even be equated with a minimum wage level. Not one white worker in the plant received a wage below PDL Nangle cites two chief reasons for this: the blacks are not allowed to organize and are kept basically unskilled. Nangle examines the other companies in terms of wage level, housing, and working conditions, and the theme of repression is clearly repeated.