DA backs Solidarity AA code
Pretoria - The Democratic Alliance supported trade union Solidarity's initiative for a code to help companies interpret affirmative action provisions in the Employment Equity Act, the party said on Monday.
Solidarity's proposed Code of Good Practice was drafted to help companies ensure that they acted within the Employment Equity Act to implement affirmative action fairly, said Solidarity general secretary Dirk Herman.
DA spokesperson Robert Macdonald said the DA was one of a number of organisations which had lent their support to the code and had suggested additions to it.
DA leader Tony Leon met Solidarity leaders in Pretoria on Monday to discuss the code.
Macdonald said the code was "a work in progress".
"Once the code has been completed the DA and Solidarity will each lobby separately and put pressure on government to have the codes accompany the Employment Equity Act," said Macdonald.
The DA said like Solidarity, it believed "appropriate affirmative action" was essential, but that the way the Employment Equity Act was currently implemented could compromise the fair treatment of employees and may perpetuate or exacerbate divisions in society.
The DA presented the following proposals:
affirmative action criteria such as race, gender and disability should be "plus" factors, but not the sole considerations, when affirmative action appointments are made or contracts awarded;
- the code should specify that a "designated employer", as defined in the act, is an employer who employs 100 or more employees; and
- the code should specify a "sunset clause" to give a clear expiry date to the provisions of the act.
Solidarity was to visit the United Nations and the International Labour Organisation next year to gather more information on drafting the code, said Hermann.
Hermann said the code first gained formal standing at the Glenburn Lodge dialogue in August where a high level government delegation met representatives of the Afrikaner community.
"The government delegation included Minister in the Presidency Essop Pahad, Education Minister Naledi Pandor, Public Enterprises Minister Alec Erwin and Justice Minister Brigitte Mabandla," Hermann said.
Solidarity was also to visit various cities in the United States and a number of European countries.
Members of the public in South Africa, civil society, business and legal bodies would also be given the opportunity to provide input into the final code, Solidarity said.