In a compelling address at the Employment Equity roadshow held in Pretoria on Wednesday, Tabea Kabinde, Chairperson of the Commission for Employment Equity (CEE), expressed concern about the sluggish pace of workplace transformation for designated groups, particularly individuals with disabilities. The event, organized under the theme ‘Real Transformation Makes Business Sense,’ was a collaborative effort between the Department of Employment and Labour and the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA). The primary goal of the roadshow was to raise awareness about the recently introduced Employment Equity (EE) amendments, sector targets, and regulations, while also shedding light on the impact of EE within the labor market.
With a focus on inclusivity, Kabinde underscored the importance of creating a more diverse and accessible workforce for people with disabilities. She lamented the fact that out of the 27,532 reports received, encompassing a staggering 7,215,960 employees, merely 1.2% represented individuals with disabilities. Demonstrating the commitment to fostering an inclusive environment, Kabinde announced the proposal to raise the target to 2%, emphasizing the significance of not overlooking this crucial demographic.
Acknowledging the efforts of some employers who have made strides in integrating individuals with disabilities into their workforce, Kabinde stressed that the current percentage falls woefully short of the mark. She urged for a tangible and demonstrable commitment from businesses to employ individuals with disabilities, reminding the audience that anyone can acquire a disability due to unforeseen accidents or illnesses, and this should not signal the end of their career prospects.
Kabinde also tackled the issue of sector targets and dispelled misunderstandings that often circulate in the media. She emphasized that when discussing the Economically Active Population (EAP), the focus is exclusively on individuals who are actively working, seeking employment, or possess the ability to be employed. This clarification, she believed, was pivotal in fostering constructive dialogues around EE and its implications.
Furthermore, Kabinde highlighted a concerning trend where small EAP groups dominate top management positions, while larger EAP groups have limited representation in these leadership roles. She emphasized the necessity of recalibrating this balance to ensure a fair distribution of management positions based on demographics and qualifications.
As part of the event, attendees were given an insightful demonstration of the online EE system, complete with the incorporated amendments to reporting procedures, as well as an explanation of how certificates of compliance would be generated. The CCMA also contributed to the event with a presentation on case law related to EE, providing valuable insights into the legal framework surrounding employment equity.
The national series of EE workshops and roadshows commenced on July 18, 2023, and are set to conclude on August 29, 2023. The remaining workshops in August are scheduled as follows:
Johannesburg: August 2, 2023
Witbank (Emalahleni): August 15, 2023
Nelspruit (Mbombela): August 16, 2023
George: August 15, 2023
Cape Town: August 16, 2023
Gqeberha: August 22, 2023
East London: August 23, 2023
Mthatha: August 24, 2023
Welkom: August 22, 2023
Bloemfontein: August 23, 2023
Durban: August 29, 2023
The EE workshops have been strategically tailored for a wide array of stakeholders, including employers, organizational leaders, academics, senior managers, human resource practitioners, trade unions, and employees. By fostering dialogue, raising awareness, and sharing crucial insights, these roadshows aim to accelerate workplace transformation and promote greater inclusivity for all members of society.