Last Friday, the new Employment Equity Regulations were published in Parliament.
These draconian regulations are the Zuma ANC’s attempt to bring back Verwoerdian-style population control and will have a devastating effect on job creation.
At a time when South Africans should be working together for change and jobs, the ANC is attempting to divide people and destroy jobs.
According to the new Regulations, companies that employ more than 150 people will have to use the “national economically active population” demographics for three upper levels (top and senior management and professionally qualified) and an average of national and regional demographic for the three lower levels (skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled technical) as a guide when determining targets.
Companies that employ less than 150 people will have to use the “national economically active population” demographics for two upper levels and an average of national and the regional demographic for four lower levels.
Instead of focusing on top-down quotas, the Department of Labour should be focused on building skills and capacity so that all previously disadvantaged South Africans can be genuinely empowered.
Last November, the Supreme Court of Appeal found attempts to achieve employment equity through the imposition of racial quotas was unfair under the Constitution and therefore illegal.
This year the Labour Court also ruled that the Department of Correctional Services had to abide by a similar ruling.
The DA’s legal team will be studying these regulations closely in the light of that constitutional court judgement.
These regulations will also have a major impact on employment in provinces like the Western Cape, Northern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal where the provincial demographics are very different from the national demographics.
Members of minority population groups like the coloured and Indian community will be denied employment, promotion and might even face retrenchment simply to meet these skewed and arbitrary quotas.
In 2010, then Director General of Labour and government Spokesperson, Jimmy Manyi claimed that: “Indians, we should be having only 3% [of positions on management]. They are sitting at 5.9. I call it the power of bargaining. Indians have bargained their way to the top.” That same year Manyi also claimed that there was an “over-supply” and “over-concentration” of coloured people in the Western Cape.
It would appear that Manyi’s approach to employment equity is still entrenched within his former department. These regulations will only serve to make our labour relations system more rigid and in doing so undermine job creation and economic growth.
The DA has a clear economic inclusion policy which will incentivise job creation. We would:
- Reject racial quotas in favour of programmes that actively promote advancement of black South Africans by extending opportunity;
- Encourage investment in the long-term potential of staff and to promote diversity through training and mentoring;
- Incentivise companies to implement programmes of black advancement rather than punitive measures that hamper growth and jobs; and
- Promote alternative equity practices such as employee share ownership schemes.
We reject the ‘Manyi clause’ in these regulations and call on all South Africans to do the same when they vote on 7 May.