Parliament’s National Assembly has passed the Employment Equity Amendment Bill and has sent the draft law to the National Council of Provinces for concurrence.
The bill will allow the Employment and Labour minister Thulas Nxesi to set employment equity targets for different business sectors. The minister can set targets for different occupational levels, sub-sectors or regions.
It also aims to reduce the regulatory burden on small businesses and add rules for doing business with the government.
The Department of Employment and Labour has previously indicated that it plans to introduce the new sector-specific equity rules in 2022.
“The expected introduction of five-year sector targets will mark the beginning of a clean slate,” said the department’s director of employment equity Ntsoaki Mamashela said in September.
“All current employment equity plans will fall away on 22 September 2022, and the new plans will have to be aligned with five-year targets. Self-regulation has not worked,” she said.
Mamashela said further sector engagements which started in 2019 on sector targets would continue. She said talks have already been held with several sectors, including mining, financial & business services, wholesale & retail, and construction.
It is envisaged that the sector engagements will be concluded by February 2022 with proposed targets, she said.
The Employment Equity Amendment Bill will now be considered by the National Council of Provinces, where any amendments will be considered. Depending on whether any changes are made, it will be reconsidered by the National Assembly and then sent to president Cyril Ramaphosa to be signed into law.