Cape Town - The deadline for submissions to Parliament about the controversial employment equity regulations may have passed on Monday, but the storm of disapproval by unions, professional organisations, civil society and political parties is still brewing.
This morning, trade union Solidarity and non-profit organisation Cape Forum will be gathering at Parliament’s front gate to hand over a petition against the proposed regulations to the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces.
The move was announced at a media briefing on Monday at which the two organisations released a joint report about the regulations in which they said coloured people were unfairly targeted.
Solidarity CEO Dirk Hermann said they were expecting to be received at the gate by “several political parties” and that the petition was calling for a debate on the issue in the House.
The report is titled “Race Law Impact Study – coloured people in the labour market” and subtitled “Race to the bottom”.
It said the regulations would mean coloured employees working in the agricultural sector in the Western Cape would have to be reduced and replaced.
Solidarity Research Institute head Connie Mulder, who helped write the report, said: “Nationally, approximately one in four coloured employees will have to be replaced in order to meet the labour minister’s sectoral targets indicated in the proposed employment regulations.”
Mulder said the report specifically focused on the possible impact of the proposed regulations on the coloured labour market. He said the minister’s targets required that coloured women in various sectors would have to be replaced by black or coloured men.
“In the Western Cape alone, one in four coloured female health workers, one in eight coloured female workers in the accommodation and food sector and one in 10 coloured female workers in trade will have to be replaced in order to meet the minister’s targets.
“Similarly, no new appointments of coloured people can be made in agriculture in the Western Cape, because then companies will no longer meet the minister’s targets.”
Cape Forum chairperson Heindrich Wyngaard said the targets were a sign that the ANC was trying to interfere directly in the coloured community’s workplaces.
“Officials in the Union Buildings who now want to decide how the Cape should do business. We reject such central planning of the economy and will fight more and more towards federalism.”
The regulations will accompany the newly enacted Employment Equity Amendment Act 2020 (EEA Act), signed into law by President Cyril Ramaphosa on April 12. After the act was signed a number of groups, including the Black Management Forum (BMF), indicated they were unhappy with it.
Department of Labour spokesperson Teboho Thejane said the department was not surprised by the opposition by Solidarity to the amendments and sector employment equity targets.