THE Employment Equity Act has been in force for 15 years, having been promulgated to great fanfare two years after South Africa’s constitution was adopted.It was written with the express purpose of fulfilling the state’s constitutional mandate of undoing the damage done to black people by hundreds of years of racial oppression. However, apart from one bungled prosecution and two minor judgments, has the act achieved anything near what it was meant to?The popular narrative in government, labour and black business circles would indicate not.As Commission for Employment Equity (CEE) chairman Loyiso Mbabane said in his 2012-13 annual report to Parliament, the slow pace of workplace transformation "is an indictment on the part of past and current leadership in all sectors, including government".The paradox, as Dr Mbabane puts it, "is that as we tend towards more and more ‘empowerment’ according to ‘scorecards’, we are getting less and less transformed in terms of substantive behaviours a...

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