Minister Thulas Nxesi Picture: Bongani Shilubane/African News Agency/ANA
Minister Thulas Nxesi Picture: Bongani Shilubane/African News Agency/ANA

Amendments to Employment Equity Act a recipe for quotas

By Mayibongwe Maqhina Time of article published Apr 14, 2021

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SOLIDARITY union said on Wednesday the amendment of the Employment Equity Act to empower Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi to identify national economic sectors and determine numerical target would inevitably lead to a quota system.

Briefing the employment and labour portfolio committee in a virtual public hearing, Solidarity’s Anton van der Bijl said Nxesi should rather look at providing equal opportunities to everyone irrespective of race.

But, committee chairperson Lindelwa Dunjwa asked if his assertion meant that the minister has no jurisdiction in the transformation in the private sector and that everything should be left to the sector.

“The role of government is to ensure there is transformation because of the past we come from,” said Dunjwa.

Van der Bijl said he would never dispute that there was inequality in South Africa.

He insisted that there was a role to be played by the minister of employment and labour was to ensure equal rights to opportunities.

Van der Bijl also said the minister should ensure employees have the necessary skills to compete on the same footing like everyone else.

The current focus seems to be on equality in outcome. We propose a shift from looking at race as a proxy for affirmative action. There must be a shift to socio-economic needs as a proxy for affirmative actions,” he said.

“If there is a focus on equality and opportunity and look for socio-economic need, we are to argue the inequality, to a certain extent, will be dealt with. There is a possibility that it will be eradicated,” Van der Bijl said.

POLITICAL BUREAU

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