Government envisages race quotas in the workplace

The National Employers Association of South Africa (NEASA) has serious concerns over the latest amendments to the Employment Equity Act which makes race a criterion for employment.

In an open letter, NEASA writes, “The Department of Employment and Labour has gazetted the Employment Equity Amendment Bill which aims to amend some provisions of the Employment Equity Act.

“The most significant proposed amendment is that the Minister will now be empowered to, after consultation, determine numerical targets (which means quotas) for specific sectors. Employers will therefore no longer be able to set their own targets in their employment equity plans.”

The letter goes on to highlight other amendments.

Employers who employ less than 50 employees are no longer designated employers for purposes of the EE Act, irrespective of their turnover and are therefore exempt from the obligations as contemplated in the Act.

Employers who wish to tender for state contracts will only be able to do so if the Minister has issued a certificate of compliance, which may only be issued:

– in respect of any target with which the employer has not complied, the employer has
raised a reasonable ground to justify its failure to comply;
– if the employer has submitted a report in terms of section 21 of the EE Act;
– should there be no finding by the CCMA or a court, within the previous three years,
that the employer breached the prohibition on unfair discrimination; and
– if the CCMA has not issued an award against the employer, in the previous three
years, for failing to pay the minimum wage in terms of the National Minimum Wage

“NEASA’s leadership views this development in a very serious light and will therefore participate, on all levels, in processes of consultation.”

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