LETTER: Draft equity rules are social engineering
Employers should read the regulations and write to one of the three names given in the Government Gazette
On February 1 the employment & labour minister gazetted the draft employment equity regulations on the proposed sectoral numerical targets. It is worthwhile for people, especially employers, to read these regulations, and if they want to comment to do so in writing to one of the three people contained in the Government Gazette.
Though the DA is certainly not in favour of the employment equity legislation as a whole, it is important to look at the proposals and comment on them, which we will be doing. We have launched a court application challenging the legislation that will be heard in due course.
The labour ministry has outlined 18 economic sectors, almost the entire economy, that will be affected by these legislative sectoral numerical targets. The targets need to be set for five years, which inevitably will negatively affect the business sector.
The ministry would have us believe that it took into account factors that are outlined in the gazette, but on reading these it is clearly impossible to get that sort of information, and I strongly doubt the ministry even understood what it was supposed to take into account in the first place.
This is simply social engineering, designed to affect all businesses that employ more than 50 employees, which are known as “designated employers” and are obliged to achieve the targets.
Government defines affirmative action as “a coherent package of measures, of a temporary nature in line with the constitution, aimed specifically at correcting the position of member[s] of a target group as defined in the Employment Equity Act in the workplace, to obtain effective equality”.
It is interesting to see the words, “of a temporary nature”. We have had employment equity as part of our statute since 1998. It has been a dismal failure, and tinkering with the regulations to try to turn a dismal failure into a success is folly.
My prediction is that this will make matters far worse and lead to greater unemployment.
Michael Bagraim, MP
DA employment & labour spokesperson
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