ANC seeking change in job equity act

ct Peter Marias  and Marius Fransman _7992 done Masixole feni ACT TO GRIND:Bruin Bermagtings Bewering deputy president Peter Marias and ANC Western Cape chairman Marius Fransman addess the media on the draft regulations of the Employment Equity Act. Photo: Masixole Feni

Zara Nicholson

Metro Writer

THE ANC in the Western Cape has made submissions to the Department of Labour to reformulate the draft regulations of the Employment Equity Act to ensure coloured people in the Western and Northern Cape are not prejudiced when applying for top management positions.

The provincial ANC leadership, former premier Peter Marais and other members of the Bruin Bemagtigings Beweging (BBB), held a joint press conference yesterday where they raised concerns about the draft regulations of the act, which would exclude coloured applicants from top three management level jobs.

The regulations state that companies employing more than 150 people should apply national demographics for the top management levels. Marais had requested a meeting with the provincial ANC to express their views on the matter.

“We came here to find that the ANC in the Western Cape are on the same page as we are with the draft regulations, which if implemented will drastically destroy any chances of coloured people in the Western Cape to find employment or promotion,” Marais said.

He said the BBB and the provincial ANC rejected the provisions that national demographics should apply.

“This will cause undue suffering and hardship and it will not be conducive to harmonious relationships between African blacks and African coloureds,” Marais said.

He added: “We want a clause included which says that merit must play a role in appointments. It can’t just be that you get a job because you are black or because you are coloured. Because we might get Eskom blowing up one of these days because you got the wrong guy in charge,” Marais said.

Fransman said the ANC made its submission on Monday to the Department of Labour on the draft regulations which would address the “unintended consequences” in the way the draft regulations currently stand.

The ANC submitted that if the formulation were applied in the context of the Western Cape with only national demographics being used in the top three echelons of management, “they may result in members of the coloured population in the Western Cape being prejudiced, given the unique profile of the province…a similar situation may apply in the Northern Cape”.

The ANC said while coloureds are a national minority comprising 8.5 percent of the national population, they are a provincial majority, making up 48 percent of the Western Cape’s population.

“Along with black African persons, coloured persons are currently under-represented in management positions in the Western Cape. Thus both should benefit from affirmative actions measures,” the ANC said.

They have suggested that national and provincial demographics be applied in all instances.

Fransman said: “We had to analyse what the constitution says, what the Employment Equity Act says and what the amendments say. As the ANC we do not support a clause that tries to bring a divergence on what the actual law says and what the constitutions says.”

Fransman said affirmative action had to redress the injustices which apartheid imposed on the coloured, African and Indian communities.

Asked whether there was concern that the act’s draft regulations could hurt the ANC in the run-up to elections, Fransman said: “The ANC does not make policy position decisions based on elections… There is no intention here to use the issue for political interests.”

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