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Speech by the Deputy Minister of Employment and Labour; Ms. Boitumelo Moloi during the Debate on Budget Vote 31at the Natio
24 May 2022
Honourable Deputy Speaker and members of this House
Minister Nxesi and all ministers and deputy ministers present
The Honourable Chair and members of the Portfolio Committee
The Director-General and senior management of the Department and its entities
Ladies and gentlemen
I greet you all.
I bring greetings from the 05th Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labour that took place in Durban on the 15th to 20th of May 2022.
A successful conference we were proud to host as the Department of Employment and Labour supported by national departments with the assistance of the ILO officials, gave us a clear message that; South Africa must take the lead in the total realisation of the elimination of child labour by 2025.
Deputy Speaker and Honourable Members, allow me with reference to the input of the Minister, to put a few points into perspective for the purpose of this debate:
You know honourable members, populism is redefining the politics but we all know that when the cameras switch off, the real politics set in. So, we will lose nothing if we always humble ourselves.
So first and foremost, this budget vote is a product of a thoroughly consulted process guided by the National Treasury and aims to respond to the SONA commitments and the NDP vision 2030. This budget vote is tabled against the highly cost contained restrictions due to the very low revenue base from our battling economy.
Secondly, is that this budget vote is also a direct response to the Performance Agreement signed with HE the Honourable President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Thirdly, this budget votes demonstrate advances that we are taking in ensuring what Hon. Nonsele spoke about in which relates to the instructions that are given to us by the Constitution. Of course, this is collaborative work, hence the Minister spoke about the pathway network management system.
So, I noted the views of honourable members especially those who oppose the tabling and adoption of this budget. We note your descent to this budget vote Honourable members.
Opposing this budget vote is the same as opposing service delivery and also demonstrates a disregard for those who cannot afford to feed their families but rely on state interventions and policy statements such as this budget vote.
It is through budget votes that it is possible for us to be on this virtual platform which is not for free. The same budget votes make it possible for members to hold the executive to account and it is the same budget votes that make it possible for the department to comply with parliamentary prescripts and eases the burden of poverty from our people and delivers services at the doorsteps of communities and strengthens oversight.
So, opposing this budget means a big “No” to all these important functions of our parliamentary work.
I think in the future it must be clear that members who don’t support the budget vote should not benefit from what they didn’t support.
PUBLIC EMPLOYMENT INITIATIVES
Deputy Speaker, the District Development Model (DDM) and the outreach programs have resulted into a lot of impactful interventions for our people.
The 126 Labour Centres which remain our infrastructure for collaborations at the doorsteps of communities have remodelled the DDM towards perfection. When the time is right, with thorough consultations, we will start the process to pursue the 24-hour shift operation functions in the Labour Centres and this will include rendering services on Saturdays. This will be carefully consulted upon and when the time is right we will rollout 24hour services at our Labour Centres.
Deputy Speaker, I also think when the time is right, we need to showcase and demonstrate our achievements and say nothing at all and leave those who speak but do nothing for our people to continue talking.
We will parade our achievements, the payments of claims, registration of work seekers and the jobs that we have created through these interventions for everyone to start appreciating our “one plan approach” and the collaborative efforts with other departments, the districts and the local municipalities in the delivery of services.
This will give a clear distinction between those who are grandstanding for votes and those who seek proximity to our people by doing nothing at all - from those who do the hard-work but never seek for attention.
It is common knowledge that South Africa has a very stubborn unemployment.
It is this structural unemployment that is linked to a system that was well designed to disempower the majority in this country who remain the disenfranchised. We need a structural response to this phenomenon and this can never be an overnight success.
Labour Activation Program (LAP)
Honourable Members, let me further elaborate on the point made by the Minister earlier. The UIF, through its Labour Activation Programmes (LAP), has set aside R551 million for these three projects for 19 921 beneficiaries – 70% of which are former UIF contributors who lost their jobs – to undergo training in the following skills:
14 771 beneficiaries as Chief Food Handlers;
5000 beneficiaries in Enterprise Development (mixed farming); and
150 beneficiaries as Fibre Optic Technicians.
Legislation, Policy and Bill Amendments
Honourable Members, the much talked about, National Labour Migration Policy is currently undergoing public consultations soon to be finalised. The Minister has expanded sufficiently in this regard.
Chairperson, in the Financial Year 2021/22 we also brought to this parliament, amendments to the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA).
Currently, we have Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Amendment Bill (COIDA Bill) that the National Assembly referred to National Council of Provinces (NCOP) for concurrence. I have received word that the NCOP has just concluded its work on this piece of legislation.
So, the COID Amendment Bill includes domestic workers under the category of employees. It also includes a chapter dealing with rehabilitation and re-integration framework for employees injured or have contracted occupational diseases; and review of the benefit structure to improve benefits payment to employees and their beneficiaries.
THE EE AMENDMENT BILL
Chairperson, the people that elected us, want change, we just cannot afford to sit on our laurels, nibble around the edges and allow the status quo prevail.
So, I think the employers, were given more than enough time and the opportunity to regulate themselves. We literally left this important task to the employers for years and they are not coming to the party. We gave them a blank cheque of just ensuring that there is equity in employment and to demonstrate to us that the designated groups are not left behind.
But sadly Chairperson, even after being so generous with the employers as government, employers continue to leave many not only behind but outside, leaving the democratic government of the ANC no other choice but to disabuse ourselves from this through meaningful interventions.
We are now amending the Employment Equity Act, to empower the Minister of Employment and Labour to regulate sector specific Employment Equity (EE) targets.
This is going to happen immediately after consultation with the sector stakeholders and on the advice of the Commission for Employment Equity.
We aim to reduce regulatory burden on small employers employing between 0 - 49 employees.
In this regard, these small employers would be exempted from complying with EE administrative processes of conducting analysis of their workplaces, preparing EE Plans, complying with sector EE targets or submitting an EE Report.
As a result, this creates a conducive environment for investment and for small businesses to grow and create jobs.
Furthermore, the amendments are intended to promulgate Section 53 of this Employment Equity Act, which deals with the issuing of EE compliance certificate as a prerequisite for access to state contracts or to conduct business with any organ of state.
In conclusion Chairperson, this EE Compliance Certificate is critical in ensuring that financial benefits from the state only accrue to organisations that are committed and willing to contribute to the transformation agenda of this country.
The state cannot continue to financially incentivise organisations that are anti-transformation and those who resist compliance with the laws of the country.
The status quo must be disrupted and we must act decisively against those who undermine our transformation agenda.
Chairperson, allow me to thank the Minister, the DG and the entire staff of the Department. I support the tabling and adoption of budget vote 31 of the Department of Employment and Labour.
I thank you.
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