Big employment equity shake-up as government looks to speed up transformation

The Department of Labour will table the Employment Equity Amendment Bill in parliament soon, bringing with it a number of changes to the country’s employment equity laws.

Presenting his departmental budget speech on Wednesday (10 July), Labour minister Thulas Nxesi said that the bill will regulate the setting of sector-specific employment targets to address the gross under-representation of blacks, women and persons with disabilities.

It will also ensure that an employment equity certificate of compliance becomes a precondition for access to state contracts, he said.

A draft version of the bill published at the end of 2018 indicated that the changes being were made to ‘speed up transformation’.

The bill states that while the public sector has seen significant changes, the private sector continues to lag behind.

In top and senior management levels, women only account for 32.6% and 39% respectively at the public service level. However, this drops to just 21.6% and 32.3% in the private sector.

“It has been 20 years since the inception of the Employment Equity Act, however the pace of transformation has been slow,” the bill states.

“Relative to the demographics of the Economically Active Population (EAP) as released by StatsSA, marginal progress in relation to the equitable representation of the designated groups, in particular Africans, coloureds and persons with disabilities have been made in the middle-to-upper occupational levels, which is repeatedly visible in the statistics contained in all the Commission for Employment Equity (CEE) annual reports.”

Read: Why South African engineers are leaving the country – despite huge demand and R1 million salaries

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Big employment equity shake-up as government looks to speed up transformation