Employment and labour minister Thulas Nxesi says that government will need to introduce new regulations to speed up the rate of transformation at businesses in South Africa.
Nxesi was speaking to the launch of the Commission for Employment Equity (CEE) annual report, which shows that it will take at least 50 years to see real transformation in the workplaces if the current pace of employment equity implementation in the top echelons is allowed to persist.
“The CEE report calls for urgent strategies. It cannot be business as usual. The time has come to re-strategise. Employment equity legislation to date has failed to achieve its intended purpose and objective,” he said.
“The CEE report is a wake-up call to government that self-regulation by employers to achieve the objectives of EE legislation has not worked.
“We now need a more aggressive strategy including a review of legislation. The Employment Equity Bill currently in parliament is a catalyst to expedite transformation in the workplace.”
Currently making its way through parliament, the bill will provide the minister with the power, in consultation with the sector stakeholders and on the advice of the Commission for Employment Equity to:
- Regulate employment equity sector through specific EE numerical targets for designated groups (i.e., black people, women and persons with disabilities)
- Reduce the regulatory burden on small employers, i.e., those employing between 0-49 employees.
- Regulate criteria for assessment of compliance to complement the promulgation of Section 53 of the EE Act in order to be able to issue Employment Equity Certificate of Compliance as a precondition for designated employers to access State Contracts and do business with any organ of the state or public entity.
“We should never forget that the Employment Equity Act is not only about affirmative action, but also about substantive equality, a matter that seems more prominent in the cases referred to above,” said commission chairperson Tabea Kabinde.
“The CEE believes that the promulgation of the Employment Equity Amendment Bill will stand transformation in the country in good stead in dealing with compliance to both affirmative action and substantive equality.”
“The commission is anxious to see the enactment of the bill in order to expedite the pace of transformation,” she said.