Labour dept defends equity bill

2011-03-02 14:40

Cape Town - The labour department on Wednesday again strongly criticised trade union Solidarity for its claim that proposed amendments to the Equity Act could, if adopted, cost over a million coloured workers in the Western Cape their jobs.

Briefing members of parliament's labour and public enterprises select committee on provisions of the employment equity amendment bill, the department's chief director of labour relations Thembinkosi Mkalipi also suggested newspaper reporting on the matter was untrue.

"There's nothing (in the legislative proposal) that says coloured and Indian people in the Western Cape will lose their jobs. In fact... it gives flexibility to employers; it's their call, they'll have to decide what demographic they use.

"Nowhere in that proposal is there (mention of) removing regional (demographics) and leaving national behind. The statement by Solidarity is a lie. It's not true," he said.

The "demographics" referred to are the relative representation of so-called coloured workers in both the national and Western Cape work force, which, Mkalipi said, were 11.3% and 51.8% respectively.

Last month, Solidarity claimed that enforcing equity targets in terms of the national rather than the regional figure would cause massive unemployment among coloured workers in the province.

Mkalipi said while there appeared to be confusion about this matter, the department was in fact proposing "to remove both regional and national" figures.

He said employers in the province would be free to choose what demographic they wanted to use.

"If they're able to justify the fairness of that, they might be able to say: 'We are a company that is based only in the Western Cape; we believe to look at 52% is fair'.

"We're giving the labour market flexibility... but we're under attack."

The department had made numerous attempts to explain its proposals, but unfortunately "the truth does not sell newspapers".

Mkalipi called on the media - journalists at Wednesday's briefing heavily outnumbered the five committee members present - to publish a correct explanation of the proposed amendments.

"There is nowhere in the amendment, in the bill, nowhere, that we are taking away regional (demographics) and leaving national. Nowhere.

"There is nowhere in this bill that it will cause unemployment of 1.3 million people in the Western Cape," he said.

  • KDP - 2011-03-02 15:21

    Its too late...see you at the polls!

  • Francois - 2011-03-03 12:59

    Instead of forcing a policy such as this, you should educate your people sothat they can take over the workplace. Wouldnt it be better for quality, service delivery and the economy. But no, that is too much effort for da people. They would rather be forced into those positions without the necessary skills and drag the whole economy down with it.

      Delta - 2011-05-03 15:45

      I wonder what you mean by "your people". For your information, the EEA does not purport to force any people into positions without the necessary skills. That is an apartheid era approach of preferring people by their skin colour. In the new S.A. we consider only suitably-qualified people. DM

      Zion - 2011-05-03 18:14

      Delta, where were you when apartheid was still around. Just shortly: A parliamentary candidate went bankrupt so he was rejected. Most ministers had a degree. most government servants were highly qualified in their fields (I was one) Most prime ministers were degreed. Most matrics passed. etc. Obviously you have no idea of the apartheid era and react purely on here-say. By the way the president of this country has std 4. And last but not least. Those days we had An unknown entity: It was called SERVICE.

      ir8m8 - 2011-05-03 19:07

      i'm also a bit interested in the "your people" comment, it may be one of the core reasons that the real new SA has still not stood up, because it is still an us vs them. @Zion, dude apparently you beleived all the NP Rhetoric that we were all fed during apartheid, of course everybody passed matric, bantu-education was severely sub-standard to the white equivalent. With all the high and powerful faith you place in that old regime, i can guarantee that at the end of the day they were the same politicians that we are saddled with now, we just have media transparency now to highlight all their mistakes. its the same with the DA Vs ANC debacle, it matters not who wins my freind for at the end, they are all politicians and they only agenda they will ever care about is there own. Democracy is just another rouse for the aristocrats to make the little people poorer.

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