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Solidarity CEO Dirk Hermann. The labour union says the Employment Equity Amedment Act is proof of the state’s obsession with race and will have dire consequences for the economy. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/FOTO24/LIHLUMELE TOYANA
Solidarity CEO Dirk Hermann. The labour union says the Employment Equity Amedment Act is proof of the state’s obsession with race and will have dire consequences for the economy. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/FOTO24/LIHLUMELE TOYANA

Solidarity says it will challenge the “unconstitutional” Employment Equity Amendment Act, which was assented into law by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday. 

The labour union said the law granted “draconian” racial powers to the minister of labour and employment, and its legal team would serve court papers soon. 

The presidency says the law seeks to advance transformation of the country’s workforce by setting employment equity targets for economic sectors and geographical regions, and requires enterprises to develop transformation plans. 

It empowers the minister to set employment equity targets for economic sectors as well as regions where transformation is seen to be lagging. 

Employers with more than 50 staff must to submit employment equity plans, specifying  how they will achieve the targets. Employers are also then required to submit annual reports to the department. 

Solidarity said it informed Ramaphosa of its views on August 23, and had  obtained legal opinion that confirmed its stance and had made submissions to parliament. 

“The president is therefore aware that Solidarity would go to court should he sign this Act into law. This is precisely what he has now done and we are now preparing for court,” Solidarity CEO Dirk Hermann said. 

The union said the amended act granted the minister powers to undertake centralised racial planning at his or her discretion.  

“This would be the most drastic race-manipulating legislation in the world. It is anticipated that the private sector would have to follow the state’s example. Private enterprises will become state-run racial enterprises,” Hermann said. 

The law also would have dire consequences for the economy, he said. “New definitions of ‘designated employers’ will force small businesses to remain small and will cost thousands of jobs. 

“Any promotion opportunities for those fortunate enough to keep their jobs will be completely stopped. This will mean that the skills exodus would merely be accelerated and SA’s economy — like its public service — will become increasingly trapped in a spiral of inefficiency, contraction and imminent collapse.”

Hermann said the state’s obsession with race must be opposed at all costs.

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