Last Friday, the new Employment Equity Regulations were published in Parliament.
“These draconian regulations are the ANC’s attempt to bring back Verwoerdian-style population control and will have a devastating effect on job creation,” said Kenneth Mubu, the DA Shadow Minister of Labour.
According to the new Regulations, companies that employ more than 150 people will have to use the “national economically active population” demographics for three upper levels (top and senior management and professionally qualified) and an average of national and regional demographic for the three lower levels (skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled technical) as a guide when determining targets.
Companies that employ less than 150 people will have to use the “national economically active population” demographics for two upper levels and an average of national and the regional demographic for four lower levels.
Instead of focusing on top-down quotas, the Department of Labour should be focused on building skills and capacity so that all previously disadvantaged South Africans can be genuinely empowered.
Last November, the Supreme Court of Appeal found attempts to achieve employment equity through the imposition of racial quotas was unfair under the Constitution and therefore illegal.
This year the Labour Court also ruled that the Department of Correctional Services had to abide by a similar ruling.
These regulations will also have a major impact on employment in provinces like the Western Cape, Northern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal where the provincial demographics are very different from the national demographics.
They will also have a massive impact in Kouga, where our demographics also vary considerably from the national demographics.
Members of minority population groups like the coloured and Indian community will be denied employment, promotion and might even face retrenchment simply to meet these skewed and arbitrary quotas.
In 2010, then Director General of Labour and government Spokesperson, Jimmy Manyi claimed that: “Indians, we should be having only 3% [of positions on management]. They are sitting at 5.9. I call it the power of bargaining. Indians have bargained their way to the top.” That same year Manyi also claimed that there was an “over-supply” and “over-concentration” of coloured people in the Western Cape.
It would appear that Manyi’s approach to employment equity is still entrenched within his former department. These regulations will only serve to make our labour relations system more rigid and in doing so undermine job creation and economic growth.