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CAPE TOWN - The Department of Labour (DoL) has taken six JSE-listed companies to the Labour Court for lying about required employment equity (EE) plans, while a further six were given 60 days to comply.

The department’s Inspection and Enforcement Services branch yesterday said it wanted the companies prosecuted for failing to meet the provisions of the Employment Equity Act and reporting plans did not exist. It said this amounted to misrepresentation.

The implicated companies include Gooderson, Clientele Legal, Clientele Life, Mazor Aluminium, Mazor Steel and Spanjaard. The JSE, Safic, Phumelela Gaming, Cullinan Holdings, Reubex,and EOH were issued with recommendations and given 60 days to comply with the law.

The department said that it wanted the court to order the companies to pay a R1.5million fine and to subject repeat offenders to harsher penalties.

Fikiswa Mncanca, the chief director of Statutory and Advocacy Services at the department, said: “We have been talking about transformation and nothing seems to be happening. Transformation should not just end on the paper. Also, the transformation should not happen just because the Department of Labour is conducting national director-general (DG) reviews. The department ‘has arrived’ to enforce compliance with EE legislation.” Mncanca said that the companies had already been sent letters of intention to prosecute.

In June, the department released its seventh Employment Equity Report, which found 68.5percent of top management positions were occupied by whites, 14.4percent by Africans, 8.9percent by Indians, 4.9percent by coloureds and 3.4percent by foreign nationals.

Last week the department said that it has taken aim at 72 JSE-listed companies for not complying with the country’s EE policy.

In May, Business Report found 26 employment equity cases that had been referred to the Labour Court, including municipalities, Gold Circle, Guy Williamson, Indian Ocean Export Company and a case involving Pick * Pay.

An out of court settlement was reached for a case involving the Hilton Hotel.

All the contraventions involved either operating without an EE plan or failing to report on an EE plan. Mncanca said that the review would continue to take place and the department will make the necessary pronouncements as the review unfolds.

“The initiative is part of achieving the department’s outcome to promote equity in the labour market. The National DG Review team started with the inspections last month (in July) and these will continue until December 2017.

The National DG Review involves a process of interrogating a company’s EE plans to assess whether the plan complies with legislation and is able to transform when put to test.

Katlego Ledimo, a spokesperson for EOH, said the company was committed to transformation beyond just compliance and would “work with the DoL on implementing its recommendations in pursuit of our philosophy of sustainable transformation.

“EOH can confirm that there was a meeting held with representatives from the DoL on Friday, August 18, 2017,” Ledimo said.

Cullinan’s Bradley Allison said the company was disappointed the areas of concerns from the department related to form rather than substance. “We will implement these recommendations, which are presentational by nature and do not highlight anything Cullinan are not doing, to ensure that we are in compliance - as in our previous review,” Allison said.

Other companies were not immediately available for comment.

-BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE