South Africa needs to push hard for transformation in the workplace or risk having the ‘status quo prevailing for the next 100 years’, says Employment and Labour minister Thulas Nxesi.
Nxesi was speaking on South Africa’s latest employment equity figures which show that more than two decades since the enactment of the Employment Equity Act (EEA) to transform the South African labour market, compliance levels still remain low.
South Africa’s white and Indian population groups remain over-represented at the top management level. By comparison, the African and Coloured population groups remain grossly underrepresented, Nxesi said.
He added that the representation of foreign nationals still remains relatively high at 3%, although a slight decline of 0.1% is noted from the previous year at this occupational level. Transformation at the top management is more visible within the public sector.
“I hope the proposed EE amendments currently in Parliament will serve as a game-changer. It cannot be business as usual while our people compete for space in the labour market,” he said
Nxesi aims to address these figures through the introduction of the Employment Equity Amendment Bill in September 2022, in what is expected to be the vanguard of a new transformation push for the country.
The bill will allow the minister to set employment equity targets for different business sectors. The minister can set targets for different occupational levels, sub-sectors or regions.
The amendments would also require the government to issue contracts only to firms that have been certified as compliant with this law. The bill is currently before president Cyril Ramaphosa for consideration.
Meanwhile, Ramaphosa has set up a new Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) Advisory Council including members from the Competition Commission, labour unions and the black business community.
Their task will be to propose ways to improve representativeness in board and executive roles, create an equitable workforce, expand black skilled labour and increase the overall participation of black people in the economy.