Cape Town -
Former Western Cape premier Peter Marais’s Bruin Bemagtigings Beweging (Brown Empowerment Movement) has found an unexpected ally in the provincial ANC.
Warning of “unnecessary hardships to the coloured community” if new draft labour equity regulations were implemented, Marais came out guns blazing, ready to pick a fight with the ANC. But then he discovered that he and the provincial ANC were on the same page, fighting the same battle with the national government.
Under the national draft legislation, companies with more than 150 employees will have to use national economically active population demographics to determine the equity targets of their top and senior management, as well as their professionally qualified staff.
Marais, along with a delegation of coloured leaders from Gauteng and the Northern Cape, met ANC provincial leaders Marius Fransman, Songezo Mjongile and trade unionists at the ANC’s Cape Town office at Sahara House on Tuesday to voice opposition to the amendments.
“We came here to find out if the ANC in the Western Cape is on the same page as we are with regard to these amended regulations which, if implemented, will drastically destroy any chances of coloured people in the Western Cape finding employment or promotion,” said Marais.
The flamboyant Cape politician said that, to their surprise, the provincial ANC had already submitted its objections to some of the clauses in the regulation. “We came with our proposal and they presented us with their proposal to the minister, and the two were almost identical,” he said.
In its submission to the Department of Labour, the provincial ANC said: “If the current formulation... were to be applied in the context of the Western Cape with only national demographics being applied to the top three echelons of management, it may result in members of the coloured population in the Western Cape being prejudiced, given the unique demographic profile of the province.”
Both the ANC and the BBB agreed that the amendments would cause unnecessary hardship, and would not be conducive to harmonious relationships between Africans and coloureds.
Fransman said they had made representations to the government to change the regulations to ensure that those previously disadvantaged by apartheid were able to benefit.
”We should do everything in our power to ensure that we do not allow those who were oppressed to be divided, based on regulations, draft regulations or personal interest,” he said.
Political parties have also raised concerns about the draft regulation, with DA leader Helen Zille warning that the new regulations will, if implemented, have a “profound” impact on jobs in the Western Cape.
The provincial government was seeking legal advice on whether certain sections of the Employment Equity Act and the draft regulations were lawful and constitutional.