File picture: Independent Media
Pretoria - More than 21 companies have been fined for not complying with the Employment Equity Act and several others were on the verge of being fined, Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant said.

“JSE-listed companies alone account for more than 50 percent of the companies that have been issued with fines for non-compliance,” she said at the release of the 17th Commission for Employment Equity annual report yesterday.

“It is very concerning that there are just too many JSE-listed companies that are completely completely ignoring the law,” she said.

Oliphant said that the latest employment equity report mirrored the glaring lack of appetite for transformation, particularly by big corporates, and warned that the government had no other option but to consider introducing harsher consequences for non-compliance.

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“Some commentators ridicule the maximum amount that an offending employer could be fined as too small to be a deterrent, as some employers simply budget for it just in case they get caught,” she said.

Oliphant said it was time to “up the ante”, which may include promulgating the “stick” sections of the Employment Equity Act, because the “carrot” sections have not delivered the desired results.

Among other things, the report showed that 68.5 percent of top management positions were occupied by whites, 14.4 percent by Africans, 8.9 percent by coloureds and 3.4 percent by foreign nationals.

Men occupied 78 percent of top management positions and women 22 percent, with people with disabilities constituting 1.2 percent of top management.

Whites occupied 72 percent of the positions in the private sector and Africans 73.2 percent of the positions in the public sector.