Equity bill to fight white domination: ANC

2011-03-08 15:38

Johannesburg - The controversial employment equity amendment bill was meant to fight white male domination in management positions and not to create tensions between black, coloured and Indian South Africans, the ANC said on Tuesday.

"The amendment is meant to give employers flexibility of using either national or provincial demographics as long as they can justify their preference," said ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe.

"A national company will be expected to use national demographics and a provincially-based company will be expected to use provincial demographics," he said.

"In view of the above explanation, the National Working Committee (NWC) agreed that the current public debate was false and based on disinformation."

At a meeting on Monday, the NWC reaffirmed the policy of non-racialism and non-sexism as a settled policy of the ANC.

"In implementing this policy, headcount will be necessary. The term black is inclusive of African, coloured and Indian," said Mantashe.

"Any competition among these people who belong together must be eliminated. We should rather deal with the continued domination of management positions by white males," he told reporters.

He said the amendment would allow national companies to base their employee representation on national racial demographics, while provincial companies would be able to follow provincial profiles.

"A national company - for example Shoprite Checkers - will be expected to comply with national demographics, but a provincially-based company will be expected to comply with provincial demographics."

Mantashe said this was how Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant explained it to the NWC.

"The NWC was quite happy with that explanation."

He said reports that the draft legislation had retained the reference to national demographics were "not factually correct".

"The intention is to resolve the complaint from employers that they are expected to comply with both the national and regional demographics," said Mantashe.

The proposed labour law has sparked criticism from opposition parties, trade unions and the SA Institute for Race Relations.

'A national issue'

Trade union Solidarity's deputy general secretary Dirk Hermann claimed that the amendments could amount to "a massive and unfeasible social engineering programme".

Hermann said in terms of the amendment, the act would no longer recognise the economically active population (EAP) of a region, but only the national demographics of the economically active population.

That would mean that many coloured people could lose their jobs in the Western Cape.

However, Oliphant said this was an incorrect interpretation of the amendment.

The debate over the proposed legislation intensified after Solidarity posted a clip on YouTube of government spokesperson Jimmy Manyi saying last year - when he was the director general of labour - that there was an "over concentration" and "over-supply" of coloured people in the Western Cape.

He has since apologised for the statement.

The province is governed by the opposition Democratic Alliance and political analysts have suggested that the proposed labour law could be linked to an ANC campaign to win it back ahead of local government elections later this year.

Mantashe denied this on Tuesday.

"Policy (the non-racialism and non-sexism policy) is not about getting votes quick-quick. Elections will come and go, but you must still implement policy. It's not a short-term issue. It's not a Western Cape issue. It's a national issue."

This week, President Jacob Zuma issued a statement in an attempt to assure members of the Indian and coloured communities that the government would not enact or implement any legislation in conflict with the constitution and the non-racial ethos and foundations of South Africa.

"It is important to note that nowhere in the proposed change is there a proposal to remove 'regional' and leave 'national'. In fact, both 'national and regional' were removed."

The reason for removal of the two elements was that employers had been enquiring over the years of the labour department how they should implement both regional and national demographics of the EAP in their workplaces.

It was as a result of these enquiries that the change was being proposed.

The intended outcome of the new proposed amendment was that the employers would have the flexibility to decide whether to use regional or national demographics depending on their operations.

"These changes do not in any way affect negatively the employment opportunities for the coloured and/or Indian population.

"In fact, it makes it easier for employers to comply with the law and create more job opportunities for all the designated groups," Zuma said.

However, SAIRR researcher Anthea Jeffrey said on Tuesday that Zuma's assurance was "hardly convincing" and that many questions over the bill remained unanswered.

  • citizen36M1 - 2011-04-01 13:07

    When you start off using terms like “fight white domination” you have already lost the battle. When is the ANC going to realise that the redistribution of dwindling resources by putting previously disadvantaged employees in positions of higher and higher responsibility; oftentimes without the necessary skills and experience, will never result in any form of sustainable equity whatsoever, and will probably only serve to engineer the demise of many, and sometimes economically crucial, organisations. You cannot explain or defend legislation which is obviously flawed from the outset. Trying to correct the effects of an oppressive regime via legislation simply results in oppression of others (even if they were your previous oppressors) and more importantly as we see in our own society, the continued oppression of the previously disadvantaged – all the employment equity legislation thus far has not made any significant dent in levelling the economic playing field for the past 17 years and in the meanwhile people are crying out for opportunities. And anyway, are we not supposed to be moving away from oppression? Have a look at the lofty ideals of the brand new, world class South African Constitution! So why continue with a grossly failing system? A simple fact is that the economy has to be grown larger to make any impact on poverty alleviation and social upliftment. In our economic context, you simply cannot create jobs for a certain group by denying jobs to other groups or by shuffling numbers for the sake of some unattainable political ideal. What is needed is the political will and action to allow business to get on with what it does best; which naturally creates job opportunities. Forget about vague terms such as “decent” jobs – jobless people are the ones to consult when it comes to defining “decent” jobs; not people who have jobs and certainly not those that represent people who have jobs. I am sorry, but the unions have now become economic retarders. They are virtually bringing the economy to its knees with annual strikes for hugely unreasonable wage increases. And, to aggravate the situation, while these are in progress, peoples’ lives and property are placed in jeopardy, if not destroyed, without any legal consequences, by so-called unruly elements – never the striking workers! What does the SA government do? Stands idly by while this type of behaviour continues? It is disgusting to say the least. This should be the task of appropriate government agencies - to act as economic watchdogs. If business is abusing worker rights then it should step in just as it should if collective bargaining gets out of order. For this reason, another political anomaly called the Tripartite Alliance, should be scrapped – you can’t play on opposing teams and be the referee all at the same time. This is called a “Recipe for Disaster” and we, the citizens of South Africa, have to taste the resulting fare – and it doesn’t taste nice! What government should also be doing is properly getting tough on corruption by reinstating the Scorpions and jailing offenders for a long time – even if they are at the very top echelons of government. If you are guilty of corruption, you forfeit certain rights and you must be prepared to face the consequences no matter who you are.

      clark - 2011-05-25 14:16

      - You are spot on - most educated, informed people know all this, but the Anc does'nt get it - they never will . The result is the economy will implode and the Anc will blame apartheid.

      Sheda Hab - 2011-05-25 19:55

      Spot on. Maybe the ANC should set the example by having a party whose members are demographically representative. Then they could set the example by having a parliament on the same percentages. Then the police, army, football teams, etc.. But NO.....they are only looking one way - the same as the NATS did.

  • Darwinian - 2011-04-01 13:45

    "The controversial employment equity amendment bill was meant to fight white male domination in management positions and not to create tensions between black, coloured and Indian South Africans, the ANC said on Tuesday." Wow, that statement spews racism....

  • daaivark - 2011-04-01 14:24

    17 years down the line this sort of crap is just counter-productive, demoralising and petty, not to mention just plain vindictive.

  • DeonL - 2011-04-01 15:01

    This is not good news for most workers in KZN and Western Cape when you are working for a national company.

  • umlaut - 2011-05-05 10:25

    Instead of fighting companies that are predominantly white , why don't they set up rival companies that are fully black and start real job creation. Don't hurt existing companies with economic tribal wars that will ultimately hurt SA as they know, (and don't seem to care). Sell those expensive arms deal flying blunders to Cuba and use money wisely. Don't take jobs away from one group and give it to others and state that jobs were created. The racial ousting of whites will just scare investors and whites will sell off businesses here and go elsewhere where merit rules (like some farmers are doing) Do you want to build a new SA or build a new Black SA.??. mix this with talk of nationalization and shoot the boer and you have a very toxic mix.

      whatashame - 2011-05-25 14:12

      @Umlaut. Quite right. But that strategy is the only way they know how to get rid of you whiteys. Give to us and we will pull another Aurora on you. Seriously though, I do agree with you and I also wish they would push your agenda instead of grab grab grab. However to be fair, there are very succesful black men and women in the private sector who are doing just what you suggest. My dream is that they could empower more of our people by giving them the government tenders, especially housing tenders instead of giving it to their families and friends. There are plenty of people that would do a far better job and it would benefit the people that desperately need it. It should also be a draw-down and retention basis that will ensure the job gets done properly. It won't happen - I'm sure. Too many fat cats will lose out.

  • c1 - 2011-05-25 10:35

    then its time we ALL move to CT, or Northen Cape and see what happens then.

  • Jynxd - 2011-05-25 12:01

    Hmmm... attack the the Western Cape because you lost it... Hmmm... Lame. Put the people who are "best" for the position, in that position, without basing it on colour.

  • Jynxd - 2011-05-25 12:02

    Hmmm... attack the Western Cape because you lost it... Hmmm... Lame. Put the people who are "best" for the position, in that position, without basing it on colour.

      Maltrupa - 2011-05-25 17:03

      I've worked with a lot of people from different races and spheres of life and what I've learnt is that given the chance, anyone can be good at that which they're working towards. No one race is smarter or superior than another purely because of that (race). Previously 'Unfortunate' races are now struggling because they were not given a chance (it was automatically concluded that they were incapable). No one believed, still no one believes in some cases, that they have the ability. My understanding of employment equity is that it's not here to take jobs away from anyone but to also open closed doors to some. And it's in fact saying "hey, if you know how something is done (be it leadership, management, operations, etc)dont keep it to yourself. Grab a brother from your left and right hand sides who wants to also learn and show him the ropes." Let's stop looking down at each other but instead be open to change and teach each other the ropes. No one group of people can run things or make it on their own, the world has never and will never work like that. We're experiencing the effects of that mentality in this country. There's nothing to be afraid of.

  • Boerseun - 2011-05-25 18:28

    Any law that harms just one person, is unjust and should be removed. laws must protect all, except the criminals and therefor this law should be removed completely. I am even sure the constitution is flawed for allowing laws to harm people, no matter who they are.

  • Protest - 2011-05-25 19:07

    According to the article: ".....white male domination in management positions...." Why make laws that affect the whole white workforce, in an effort to fight white male domination in management positions? Are all white held positions management positions?

  • Kassie - 2011-05-25 19:52

    All BEE and other legislation of hatred agains white males does is to force white males to work harder and more efficiently. The result: Many white males have become super valuable assets of efficiency for their employers - or became super efficient contractors destroying any BEE competition, except when 100% BEE is required. Potholes are the result of 100% BEE policies.

  • Just Someone - 2011-06-02 12:30

    This all is rubbish. People

      Mad Hatter - 2011-07-07 16:35

      Who cares , everyone can be black ,they can't prove i'm not black so thats what i am.

  • BigD - 2011-07-07 16:23

    I wonder if this law will include the Public sector. There is a big disparity in the demographics of the managers in the Public Service.

  • pisciotta - 2012-07-16 12:34

    So as a business owner I must choose between dumb and dumber? Why not put money into education, provide incentives for companies to have training programs, mentorships by leaders to bright students etc. If you place unskilled people in charge the company will fold. Who benefits from that? SA needs to learn to hire on skill rather than skin or it will crumble into dust. And I pray the world stands by and allow it to happen. As Zuma said some do not understand democracy. I say some do not deserve democracy and I put Zuma and his household at the top of the "undeserving" list.

  • pages:
  • 1