Department of Employment and Labour Pursues Inclusive Laws for Fair Workplace Representation

  • The Department of Employment and Labour emphasizes inclusivity in South Africa's laws, aiming to provide equal opportunities for all racial groups in the workforce.
  • The 2023 Employment Equity Report reveals significant disparities in top management positions, with Whites occupying a disproportionate percentage compared to their national economically active population, while Africans face underrepresentation.
  • The Department introduces Sector Targets as a flexible approach to address workplace equity, encouraging designated employers to self-regulate and consult with employees to achieve the 5-year sectoral targets. The workshops also focus on addressing common mistakes in employment equity-related cases and introducing an online reporting system to streamline the reporting process.
Department of Employment and Labour

The Department of Employment and Labour’s Deputy Director: Employment Equity, Niresh Singh, emphasized that South Africa’s laws are designed to promote inclusivity across all racial groups. Singh made these remarks during one of the Department’s Employment Equity workshops held at Horseshoe Inn in Kimberley on July 19, 2023.

Addressing the workshop attendees, Singh clarified that the Department’s objective is not to exclude Whites, Indians, or Coloureds, but rather to ensure equal opportunities for all citizens. He presented the 2023 Employment Equity Report, which revealed significant disparities in representation at the top management level.

The statistics exposed a striking disparity, where Whites, constituting only eight percent of the national economically active population (EAP), occupied a staggering 62.9 percent of top management positions. On the other hand, Africans, representing 80 percent of the national EAP, held a mere 16.9 percent of top management positions.

Singh highlighted that the Employment Equity Act, enacted in 1998, failed to bring about substantial changes in these inequalities over the years. This has led to the introduction of Sector Targets to address equity in the workplace more effectively.

In response to concerns about quotas, Singh clarified that the Department does not advocate for rigid quotas, which may hinder progress. Instead, they encourage the adoption of flexible targets. Designated employers retain the power to consult with employees and self-regulate their annual Employment Equity targets towards achieving the 5-year sectoral targets.

CCMA Commissioner Lucky Moloi also addressed the workshop, focusing on employment equity-related case law. He emphasized common mistakes made by employers and employees, which often lead to unfavorable outcomes in cases related to employment equity.

Moving away from the laborious manual reporting, the Department’s Acting Deputy Director, Innocent Makwarela, introduced the EE Online reporting system during the workshop. Both Manual and Online reporting will be accessible from September 1, 2023, with the former closing on October 2, 2023, and the latter on January 15, 2024.

The 2023 Employment Equity national workshops, organized jointly by the Department and CCMA, operate under the theme “Real transformation makes business sense.” These national workshops started on July 18, 2023, and will continue until August 29, 2023.

Upcoming workshops for July are scheduled as follows:

North West:

Lichtenburg (25 July 2023) – Scotts Manor Guest House, 21 Bree Street, Retiefs Park
Rustenburg (26 July 2023) – Orion Hotel, 115 Hagia Sophia Drive, Kloof

Pietermaritzburg (25 July 2023) – Ascot Wedding & Conference Venue, 210 Woodhouse Road, Scottsville
The target audience for the EE workshops includes Employers or Heads of organizations, Academics, Assigned Senior Managers, Consultative forum members, Human Resource Practitioners, Trade Unions, employees, and other interested stakeholders.

These workshops are scheduled to run from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, covering all provinces. Members of the media are invited to attend and cover the events.

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