Minister Nxesi welcomes Constitutional court judgement dismissing solidarity’s challenge on employment equity
07 February 2021

The Constitutional Court has dismissed the application by Solidarity for leave to appeal against the ruling of both the Labour Court and Labour Court of Appeals which dismissed efforts to force the Minister and the Department of Employment and Labour to enforce a recommendation by the Human Rights Commission on Employment Equity.

The South African Human Rights Commission had averred that it was time for Employment Equity to be defined away from race and should look at socio-economic positions of people involved.

Solidarity took the matter to the Labour Court where they were seeking an order to force the department to enforce this suggestion against the existing legislation which has been tested in various courts that seek to undo the injustices of the past based on race.

The Labour Court and the Labour Appeals Court dismissed their argument which they then lodged to the Constitutional Court.

"The Constitutional Court, in our view, correctly dismissed this frivolous court challenge which seeks to rewrite the painful past that we come from and the measures that have been instituted to ensure that the injustices of the past are redeemed to the extent possible," said the Minister of Employment and Labour, Thulas Nxesi.

Minister Nxesi also added that there is still a long way to go before it could be argued that Africans had caught up with the past injustices.

"Year in and year out, our Commission of Employment Equity proves that white males remain entrenched at the top of the food chain and in management – in fact in all categories that matter. Black people are still at the bottom and as long as the picture remains so skew, the need for the corrective action will always be there."

The Constitutional Court concluded "that the application be dismissed as it does not bear reasonable prospects of success" but did not award costs.

"What this judgment does is to give us even more impetus to work towards the transformation of the workplace and we commit to ensure that we will do all that is in our power to see a more representative workplace," said Minister Nxesi.

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Issued by: Department of Employment and Labour