Self-regulation has not moved the employment equity, says Nxesi

Self-regulation has not moved the employment equity, says Nxesi

The employment equity report continues to reflect a bleak picture of slow transformation in South African workspaces.

Thulas Nxesi
Pic Courtesy: GCIS

The chairperson of the Commission for Employment Equity (CEE) Tabea Kabinde on Friday launched the 23rd CEE report and handed it to Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi.

The white population continues to dominate top management positions.  

“The report shows that top management is still occupied by whites at 62.9% followed by Africans at 16.9%.

“This is despite the fact that Africans constitute 80% of the national economically active population (NEAP), followed by Coloureds at 9.3%, Whites at 8% and lastly, Indians at 2.7%,” revealed Kabinde.

The handover comes amid concerns raised by some communities and organisations such as trade union Solidarity over the Employment Equity Amendment Act.

The act empowers the minister to set employment equity targets for economic sectors as well as regions where transformation is seen to be falling behind.

But Kabinde warned there were myths and misconceptions about the amended act which she said was the result of widespread consultations with sector heads and industry leaders in 2017.

“We are not asking any employer to appoint a person who is not qualified or who doesn’t demonstrate any potential to take on the role with much success. So, we are empowering the minister to give these five-year sector targets.”

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The chairperson said the targets were not quotas, adding that they as companies would be able to consult and self-regulate, and they will be able to give justifiable reasons for not being able to reach their targets.

She said they were “embarrassed” that after so long equity seems to be a pipe dream.

“We are sympathetic to the fears of others. We acknowledge that there are certain people who seem to be losing power.

“We are saying SA is for all who live in it, but we want to create an environment where everybody feels they have a place in this country and they don’t have to be apologetic based on their race, their ability or their gender, she added.

According to Kabinde women, who make up 45% of the NEAP occupy only 26.5% of top management posts.

In accepting the report, minister Nxesi said he was disappointed that the pace of transformation was nothing to boast about.

“Self-regulation of employment equity targets has not moved the needle to expedite change in the workplace.”

Nxesi accused politicians of racialising the efforts to realise the ideal.

“I also want to dispel false claims that South Africa stands to lose thousands of jobs from Coloureds and Indians as they get dismissed to make way for employers to achieve targets.

The law will not allow that to happen. These scare tactics and bizarre claims by politicians should be seen for what they are," Nxesi said. 

The official opposition (the Democratic Alliance) has claimed that the amended act violates aspects of the country’s Constitution. But, Kabinde has pushed back against the claim – instead saying that the act and EE were “unquestionably the right law for this country” that has been tested in the country’s courts.

The report will be available on the department of labour’s official website.


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