Indian fear over job law changes

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Jobless1 . File photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi.

Durban - Draft amendments to the Employment Equity Act may be detrimental to KwaZulu-Natal’s Indian population because they propose that top management positions be allocated according to the country’s economically active population (EAP).

In KZN, Indians account for 12 percent of the EAP, but only 3 percent nationally.

The amendments were published for comment in February.

They propose that companies employing more than 150 people apply national EAP demographics for management and professional posts.

In a letter to The Mercury, lawyer and blogger Saber Jazbhay said the amendments reminded him of the apartheid-era Job Reservations Act.

“If allowed on to our statute books it will consign my children and grandchildren, those born frees, to an apartheid-era type of existence,” he said.

Yesterday, the DA leader in KZN, Senzo Mchunu, said the regulations were racial discrimination and, if adopted, would put Indian South Africans out of jobs “almost immediately”.

“We will fight for regional demographics to be used… to make sure that everyone in KZN has a fair chance at jobs and promotions… Indian South Africans also suffered under apartheid and deserve to be treated with respect in the empowerment process.”

Mchunu said the party had concerns about the constitutionality of the regulations because although redress policies were not unconstitutional, they also had to protect individuals who had been the subject of unfair discrimination.

Michael Maeso, head of employment law at Shepstone & Wylie, said that even if the amendments were legislated, employers would not need to dismiss staff.

“All it does is put pressure on companies to think very seriously about their openings and to have employment equity,” he said. - The Mercury

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