SAIRR queries Zuma's jobs assurance
Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma's assurances that changes to the Employment Equity Act will not cause massive jobs losses for coloured and Indian workers are "hardly convincing", the SA Institute for Race Relations (SAIRR) said on Tuesday.
The institute's head of special research, Anthea Jeffrey, said that Zuma "in an attempt at damage control" had sought to assure coloured people in the Western Cape and Indians in KwaZulu-Natal that the Employment Equity Amendment Bill (EEA) "does not mean what it says".
"Mr Zuma’s statement that the government would not enact or implement any legislation in conflict with the constitution or the non-racial ethos and foundation of South Africa is welcome ... but it is also hardly convincing," Jeffrey said.
"The government’s claim that the bill brings about no change in the law is disingenuous. It is also foolish to accept its ‘assurance’ that this is so, as the Congress of SA Trade Unions has done, for the courts cannot take such statements into account in interpreting the wording of a statute."
Jeffrey said the bill, drafted under former labour department director general and now government spokesperson Jimmy Manyi, removed a provision in the Employment Equity Act of 1998 requiring designated employers to align their workforces with the "demographic profile of the national and regional economically active population".
Manyi has been under fire since a video clip was broadcast on the YouTube website, in which he said there was an "oversupply" of coloureds in the Western Cape.
Jeffrey said the amended provision in the act required "alignment with the demographic profile of the economically active population".
"Under ordinary principles of statutory interpretation, all national legislation applies to the nation as a whole - and regional demographic profiles thus cannot be used unless this is expressly authorised (as it is at present).
"Mr Zuma says the removal of the word ‘national’ shows that no real change is intended, but this is unconvincing.
"Once the words ‘and regional’ are taken out, leaving the word ‘national’ in the clause is tautologous, for the demographic profile then in issue is clearly the national one in any event."
In a statement issued by the presidency on Monday, Zuma assured members of the Indian and coloured communities that government would not enact or implement any legislation in conflict with the constitution and the non-racial ethos and foundations of South Africa.
The presidency said Zuma had met with Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant on Monday to discuss proposed changes to the law, "in particular the concerns raised by members of the coloured community".
Oliphant assured Zuma the legislation was intended to improve the employment prospects of the designated groups and not to make it difficult for them to obtain employment or to advance in their careers.
"These changes do not in any way affect negatively the employment opportunities for the coloured and/or Indian population," Zuma said.
"In fact, it makes it easier for employers to comply with the law and create more job opportunities for all the designated groups."
The demographic profile of the economically active population in the Western Cape as published by Statistics SA in the Labour Force Survey of September 2009 - referring to people from 15 to 64 years old that were employed, and those that were unemployed but seeking work - reflected that coloured citizens at 14.3% were grossly under-represented at the top management level.
Trade union Solidarity has claimed that research it conducted found that a million coloureds in the Western Cape and 500 000 Indians in KwaZulu-Natal could lose their jobs if the bill was signed into law.
Zuma "in an attempt at damage control" had sought to assure coloured people in the Western Cape and Indians in KwaZulu-Natal that the Employment Equity Amendment Bill (EEA) "does not mean what it says".
Why the f#$k is it necessary to create an amendment which “does not mean what it says”???
Typical ANC doublespeak and another "out-of-context" issue here, I am sure.
"An oversupply of coloureds in the Western Cape" does not mean there is an oversupply of coloureds in the Western Cape;
“Kill the Boer” does not mean go and kill boere;
“If you vote for the ANC, you will go to heaven” does not mean that if you vote for the ANC you will go to heaven;
“We will die for Zuma… we will kill for Zuma” does not mean that we will die for Zuma or kill for Zuma”.
Politicians never mean what they say and say what they mean, but guys, I really mean this….”The ANC, having secured the freedom of all South Africans from an evil and oppressive regime, is now becoming an evil and oppressive regime and even worse than the previous one. The Nationalist Party made no bones about the fact that they wanted to physically separate white, black and other races to the advantage of whites and the detriment of all others. The ANC are polarising these groups with deceitful and insidious actions and mutterings in the name of the PEOPLE” to the advantage of a few blacks and the detriment of mostly black people. This is worst-order oppression”.
it would be funny, if it wasn't so pathetic, anc are running out of lies, promises and ideas. they are aware that we are tired and have no room for listening to more lies and promises. they must learn from the outcome of the upcoming election, i hope they lose enormously! the anc wont get any better if it doesnt get low votes or none at all.