THE Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has come out in support of the amendment of the Employment Equity Act.
Speaking during the virtual public hearing, Cosatu parliamentary counsellor Matthew Parks said the bill before Parliament was correct, rational and was in line with the Constitution.
“It is long overdue. We support this bill and welcome this bill,” Parks said.
He also said the labour federation did not have any problems with any of the bill’s provisions.
“We believe it is a critical amendment bill that will strengthen the government to achieve the progressive targets of the Employment Equity Act.”
The will empower Minister of Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi to issue compliance certificates to companies that meet the requirements of the Employment Equity Act.
It intends to empower the minister to determine sectoral numerical targets for the purposes of ensuring equitable targets of suitably qualified people from designated groups at all occupational levels in the workplace.
The bill also seeks to provide for the issuing of certificates by the minister confirming an employer's compliance in relation to the conclusion of state contracts.
It does away with a clause that classified employers with fewer than 50 employees as designated employers upon meeting a specified turnover threshold.
In terms of the bill Nxesi may by notice in the government gazette identify national economic sectors, and also empower labour inspectors to obtain written undertaking from an employer to prepare an employment equity plan.
Parks said South Africa has a very painful legacy of colonialism and apartheid that spanned over four centuries.
“We are known as the most unequal in the world. The Employment Equity report shows that most companies are far behind to address the legacy of apartheid.”
He also said the public sector has made significant progress in terms of employment equity while in the private sector many employers were found wanting.
Parks said failure to address the legacy of apartheid was a ticking time bomb.
“We only need to look at Zimbabwe and other countries what the consequences if you don’t address the legacy of apartheid and colonialism.
“It is better to do it now and do it in an inclusive way as opposed to simply putting blinders on and deny the realities,” he said, adding that apartheid’s legacy was still haunting the country way after the first democratic elections in 1994.