Daan Groeneveldt: Tribute to a genuine South African


It grieves me to report that Daan died suddenly on Friday 26 June 2015.  We have been good friends for more than 15 years and were due to meet the next day.  He was developing a system to measure fairness in the workplace in the context of remuneration, differentials and proportionality.  He was a  Personnel Manager in the true sense of that expression who had unrivalled practical experience in the field.  He was concerned about all employees and their welfare.  I was introduced to Daan about 15 years ago and immediately knew that he was a humble person who really cared about people and not money.  He patiently taught me about many aspects of personnel management that I did not know about.  He opened my eyes to aspects of labour law that I had not considered before and explained complicated concepts to me.

It has to be appreciated that whilst lawyers have been tasked with ruling on many aspects of industrial and personnel relations we have not been properly trained to know and understand the intricacies of most of those relationships.  In particular lawyers have virtually no understanding of the ‘value exchange’ that is necessary to make enterprises sustainable.

South Africa has now been deprived of the wisdom and experience of a man who worked with Dr Thomas Paterson when he was in South Africa in the early seventies.  Dr Paterson was a scientist and never formulated any ‘plan’ or system of ‘job evaluation’ as such.  He proposed a method of assessing or measuring internal equity and external parity.  It was rational and justifiable.  The Department of Labour has finally moved from six to seven occupational levels in EEA 9.  It is now possible to continue with the task undertaken by Daan of explaining the significance of proportionality and the elimination of ‘disproportionate remuneration differentials’.

Recently on 16 June 2015 and at his suggestion I wrote about the misunderstandings concerning the ‘wage gap’ – Pay differential: proportionality without a wage gap.  Daan checked what I had written and approved it.  We now need to carry on the work that Daan was engaged in and it is essential that what he wanted to achieve in South Africa should not be lost or abandoned.

Daan was a man of many talents who was also interested in all aspects of life, including gardening and sport.  My sincere condolences to his wife Lorraine and family and my thoughts are with them at this very trying time.  They have my assurance that I will do whatever I can to keep Daan’s dreams of a better world alive.  I know there are others who share this vision.