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Solidarity wrong about the amended Employment Equity Act, says Thulas Nxesi

Minister of Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi. Picture: Dumisani Sibeko

Minister of Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi. Picture: Dumisani Sibeko

Published May 26, 2023


Minister of Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi said on Thursday that the Solidarity Movement was wrong, morally and factually, regarding the recently amended Employment Equity Act (EEA).

This follows Solidarity’s announcement earlier this month that it had served summons on President Cyril Ramaphosa, Department of Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi, the director-general of Employment and Labour, and the Employment Equity Commission over the Employment Equity Amendment Bill of 2020.

The union said that it had taken these steps after the president, earlier this year, signed the Amendment Bill on Employment Equity.

Speaking at the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa) Collective Bargaining Summit held at Emperors Palace, Gauteng, he said the original EEA was an attempt to implement constitutional requirements to bring about equity and equal opportunity in the workplace.

“It was left to the goodwill of employers to implement voluntarily. Unfortunately, the annual reports of the Commission for Employment Equity continued to indicate that change was at best extremely slow – especially at the higher levels of management – particularly to the cost of Africans, coloureds, women, and people with disabilities. It was for this reason that amendments were drawn up to encourage employers to comply,” he said.

He said the amendment’s change was that the minister was empowered in consultation with all relevant stakeholders to set specific EE sectoral targets.

“Guidelines have been drawn up and provisional targets agreed. The purpose is to support equitable representation of suitably qualified people at all levels from the designated groups," he said.

Nxesi said the DA, in a bid to drive a wedge between ethnic groups, asked whether national or regional demographics are to be reflected in targets.

“The law allows employers to choose whether to report nationally or provincially. If the company chooses to report provincially, it uses the provincial EAP (Economically Active Population figures), that is published together with the national EAP by Stats SA. Why is this an issue for the DA?

“Amazing how those who benefited most from racial privilege under apartheid are the first to accuse others of ‘racial quotas’, ‘reverse racism’ etc,” he said.

Nxesi said the DA was showing its origins in the “swaart gevaar” politics of the past.

Nxesi said the DA’s latest venture into race politics is to suggest that minorities will be excluded from certain employment and will lose their jobs.

“This is not true. This would be illegal. It’s racial scaremongering,” he said.