Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi implored government to educate the communities on the recently amended Employment Equity Act.
Nxesi said people must not rush to communities to confuse them when they have hidden agendas. He called out the Democratic Alliance (DA) of using scare mongering tactics to protect its interests and preserve the societal status quo.
Addressing the Chatsworth community and communities from adjacent areas on the recently updated Employment Equity Act (EEA), workplace equity, affirmative action, and related topics, Nxesi said there was still a long way to go towards emancipation. Nxesi said following the signing into law of the EE Act amendments the DA has embarked on a propaganda to mislead the people.
The Minister said the pace of transformation of workplaces remains at snail's pace.
“Through the EE amendments, we want to deal with the Irish coffee syndrome – that is the society the DA wants," Nxesi said. He said the Commission for Employment Equity (CEE) Report released in June showed that EE in the workplaces is unfolding at a snail pace.
The 23rd CEE Report showed that top management is still occupied by whites at 62.9 per cent followed by Africans at 16.9 per cent. This, according to CEE is despite the fact that Africans constitute 80 per cent of the national economically active population (EAP), followed by Coloureds at 9.3 per cent, Whites at 8 per cent and lastly, Indians at 2.7 per cent.
“The CEE report says – the most disadvantaged people and also under-represented it's the Coloured people. People tell Coloured communities that they will now be removed. That is propaganda. In all economic sectors White people have been overly represented," Nxesi said. He said the minute representation of people with disability in the workplaces was an indictment on government.
Nxesi bemoaned the economic sectors that have abandoned their charter commitments to transform. He said corruption has seemingly taken over and destroyed communities.
“We had to postpone the promulgation of EE Regulations to first hear the voices of people. Transformation is painful and not nice," he said.
The EE Act is interpreted in compliance with the Constitution and in compliance with the international law obligations of the Republic, in particular those contained in the International Labour Organization Convention, 1958 (No. 111) concerning Discrimination in Respect of Employment and Occupation.
The ILO's Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention, places an obligation on ILO member countries to elimination of discrimination in employment and occupation and the promoton of equality. The convetion prohibits all discrimination exclusion on the basis including race or colour, sex, religion, political opinion, national or social origin in employment and requires states to enact legislation that is based on equal opportunities.
On the other hand, the purpose of the Employment Equity Act is to achieve equity in the workplace by – promoting equal opportunity and fair treatment in employment through the elimination of unfair discrimination and implementing affirmative action measures to redress the disadvantages in employment experienced by designated groups, in order to ensure their equitable representation in all occupational categories and levels in the workforce.
In the advancement of elimination of unfair discrimination, the EE Act places the responsibility on the employer to take steps to promote equal opportunity in the workplace by eliminating unfair discrimination in any employment policy or practice.
In the prohibition of unfair discrimination, the Act prescribes that no person may unfairly discriminate, directly or indirectly, against an employee, in any employment policy or practice, on one or more grounds, including: race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, family responsibility, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, HIV status, conscience, belief, political opinion, culture, language and birth.
Meanwhile, the 2023 EE reporting season opens tomorrow (1 September 2023) for both manual and online reporting. In terms of reporting timeframes, the manual reporting will close on 2 October 2023 and the online reporting closes on 15 January 2024
The next EE workshops will be held as follows:
The EE workshops were targeted at Employers or Heads of organisations, Academics, Assigned Senior Managers, Consultative forum members, Human Resource Practitioners, Trade Unions, employees and other interested stakeholders.
The workshop starts at 10:00am to 14:00pm and members of the media are invited.
For enquiries, please contact:
Media Liaison Officer (Ministry)
082 729 5804/ Sabelo.Mali@labour.gov.za
082 697 0694/ Teboho.Thejane@labour.gov.za
Issued by: Department of Employment and Labour
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