Labour law changes 'significant'

2012-11-21 15:50

Cape Town - Proposed changes to labour legislation will have a significant impact on how employers conduct their business, labour experts said on Wednesday.

The draft employment equity amendment bill introduced a new form of unfair discrimination said Johan Botes, employment practice director at commercial law firm Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr.

"This will regulate situations where different employment conditions are applied to different employees who do the same or similar work (or work of equal value)," he said in a statement.

Unless the employer could show that differences in wages or other conditions of employment were, in fact, based on fair criteria, such as experience, skill, and responsibility, such conduct would constitute unfair discrimination.

Regarding affirmative action, Botes said the labour department would have more powers to fine companies which did not comply with their employment equity obligations.

The quantum of fines would be increased and could also be determined by making reference to the employer's annual turnover.

"Furthermore, the group of people who benefit from affirmative action will now be limited to persons who were citizens of South Africa before the democratic era (or would have been entitled to citizenship, but for the policies of apartheid), and to their descendants."

This meant that the employment of people who were foreign nationals, or who had become citizens after April 1994, could not assist employers meet their affirmative action targets, he said.

Employment practice associate Mark Meyerowitz said the proposed amendments would also affect a company's use of contract workers.

"In line with proposed amendments to the Labour Relations Act... employees who are placed with a client by a labour broker for longer than six months will be deemed to be employees of the company for the purposes of affirmative action."

The draft employment services bill was a new government initiative that would set up a public "employment services agency", and also provided for regulating and registering private employment services agencies.

"These agencies are not labour brokers but institutions that will provide job seekers with certain services, such as matching job seekers with available work opportunities, registering job seekers, job vacancies, and facilitating other employment opportunities."

"The bill would also set up a nationwide database to monitor employment and assist with government's goal of creating more jobs, decent work, and sustainable livelihoods," Meyerowitz said.

  • theMichaelHawthorne - 2012-11-21 16:00


      sheda.habib - 2012-11-21 16:41

      I don't know what is lekker. My father could not own land in a white area but I have to adhere to affirmative action. I have already bought CNC machines to replace workers in my factory because of stupid labour laws and unions. I will now have to buy more machines. I am making more money and more people are out of work. The ANC is useless and who votes for them - the guys who lost there jobs.....who doesn't vote for them - the guys making money. Moral is "if you want to make money then do not vote ANC"

      lucy.bush.9231 - 2012-11-21 16:57

      These people really feel no shame. They insist on making white people more and more unwelcome in our country. This BEE thing is a human rights disgrace, one sided discrimination, exactly like the system that the ANC and others fought against. Poor Mr Mandela, he must feel so sad now...!!

      goyougoodthing - 2012-11-21 17:07

      Really? I have more than enough work in my business for people, but there is no way I am taking on anyone with laws like this.

  • sean.noble1 - 2012-11-21 16:13

    Im sorry anyone born after 1994 should not qualify or be disqualified for or because off affirmative action. If you were born into a free and fair South Africa and had equal opportunity regardless of skin colour why should you be advanced because of your skin colour?

      sandra.j.rennie - 2012-11-21 23:28

      I see a lot of jobs being lost, and none being created !

  • judith.taylor.56 - 2012-11-21 16:17

    The more complicated this situation becomes, the less SMEs will want to provide employment because the burden imposed is too great. Government seems intent on destroying the economy from all angles

      nrgx.nrg - 2012-11-21 16:28

      but its not their fault, its apartheids fault, no, i mean its verwoeds fault, no wait its racist. O wait, its the white man colonial devil who is seeking undermine the freedom movement for us to steal, woops to rule i mean ! hehe!

      oistar.tutu.9 - 2012-11-21 16:29

      And governement gets told this all the time by many economists. But the government won't listen

      mark.a.fysh - 2012-11-21 16:35

      An attack on the owners of South Africa's production base. War by other means, it seems.

      konstabel.koekemoer - 2012-11-22 10:43

      AA and BEE were necessary to kick-start the transformation process but keeping them in place beyond 20 years is very destructive to everyone in South Africa (Appart from the government cronies benefitting from all the irregular tenders). After 20 years all policies and programs should not focus on the 'historically disadvantaged' but rather on the 'currently disadvantaged' people ... we need job creation and to develop and grow businesses. To keep race in the equasion is now just pure racism no better than 'job reservation' under apartheid. It shows that the ANC has totally failed the people of South Afirca and the only way they can keep in power is to blame the whites and apartheid for all their own failures. This is what Adolf Hitler did with the Jews and what Mugabe is still doing in Zimbabwe. It's time the international community starts to put pressure on the ANC to abolish all racist laws.

  • johan.jacobs.5680 - 2012-11-21 16:25

    Take care it's not about one man one vote anymore,but rather about one man one job.P.s Dont mess around, with the labour market.

  • portia.motsage - 2012-11-21 16:36

    Its great!! We know of companies who take 1st preference to people of a certain colour and less to other races. I think everyone will get equal opportunities then provided people are also willing to increase their skills are working for more experience than just for money.

      werner.niksch - 2012-11-21 16:57

      i can promise you it doesnt have anything to do with a "certain colour". if everyone works hard at what they do then companies wont choose people of a "certain colour". the race card have been played long enough,dont you think its starting to get old?

      emil.scharf.75 - 2012-11-21 17:11

      Portia,perhaps that company wants to appoint top achievers.Laws are forcing companies to be representative of the provincial demographics, despite the fact that Whites/Indians are overrepresented in certain professions-and that encourages white/Indian students to study harder.So they get more destinctions, whilst black students know they will get a nice government job,as long as they pass.Perhaps this particular company just got fed-up with job-hunting underachievers and decided to apoint students that have proven that they can work hard and are dedicated- and obviously this group of students will not be representative of provincial demographics.Furthermore the inferiority complex displayed by people like you, who still need to play the race card to get ahead,is actually a very self-destructive policy.The best way to solve the problem is not through EE/BEE/AA laws but a government that encourages economic growth.If this country's economy had grown by an average of 6% per annum from 1994-2008 (which could easily have been the case if we had a responsible government and effective public service) then there would be so many opportunities that NO company would have been in a position to discriminate against anybody as that would put them at a disadvantage as far as the competition is concerned.Unfortunately AA/BEE/EE although it has assisted in creating a black middle class, also destroyed many industries and jobs.Upliftment starts at ground level.But the ANC destroys education.

  • michael.heys.3 - 2012-11-21 16:39

    Nowhere does the word "merit" appear. Does that mean good and bad must be paid the same? Why bother to be good and hard working then? It is the African way.

  • werner.niksch - 2012-11-21 16:52

    why not also exempt white persons born after 1994 to the employment equity act.isnt it racist to exclude them seeing they were born in a "democratic society"?

  • FinalJustice - 2012-11-21 16:54

    The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money. - Margaret Thatcher The folks who are getting free stuff, don't like the folks who are paying for the free stuff, because the folks who are paying for the free stuff can no longer afford to pay for both the free stuff and their own stuff. The folks who are paying for the free stuff want the free stuff to stop, and the folks who are getting the free stuff want even more free stuff on top of the free stuff they are already getting! Now ... the people who are forcing the people to pay for the free stuff have told the people who are RECEIVING the free stuff, that the people who are PAYING for the free stuff, are being mean, prejudiced, and racist. So... The people who are GETTING the free stuff are convinced that they need to hate the people who are paying for the free stuff by the people who are forcing some people to pay for their free stuff, and giving them the free stuff in the first place. We have let the free stuff giving go on for so long that there are now more people getting free stuff than paying for the free stuff. So understand this: All great democracies have committed financial suicide somewhere between 200 and 250 years after being founded. Reason being that the voters figured out they could 'vote' themselves money from the treasury by electing people who promised to give them money from the treasury in exchange for electing them. In SA it is now evident that the number of people now getting free stuff outnumbers the people paying for the free stuff. Thomas Jefferson said it best: “Democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who are not”.

  • john.morreira.9 - 2012-11-21 17:07

    This whole labour issue ;AA,BBBEE ETC. Is reminiscent of the National Socialist Workers (yes....NAZI)Party policies against Jews in Germany in the nineteen thirties. We all know how that turned out??!!

  • SarelJBotha - 2012-11-21 17:11

    Hello...more people will loose their jobs and rightly so if this type of idiot legislation keeps on killing businesses.

  • Benjamin - 2012-11-21 17:13

    If you want more jobs make it easier for employers to employ people rather than more difficult. And how about some legislation to bring the employees into line so they stop behaving like hooligans.

      alonso.opinion - 2012-11-21 17:32

      I agree! Too much focus is placed on "rights" but not enough (in fact zero) on responsibility. These two have to be in balance, if not the cart's wheels will begin to wobble and eventually fall off.

      Onke Mdingi - 2012-11-21 17:53

      Me thinks if that legislation (holding employees liable for their actions) is passed, the so called revolutionary movements will run-out of 'vote reserves'.

  • bongani.khumalo.967422 - 2012-11-21 17:25

    im doing my part for unemployment in sa.I'm firing the stupid incompetent workers who believe that it is ok to steal from me and replacing them with machines. I'll paint the machines black. thats my affirmative action policy

      Onke Mdingi - 2012-11-21 17:46

      Oh Bongani, can't you at least be objective. This is a serious matter (Draft Bill) that could be a law.

      avril.kotze - 2012-11-22 05:50


  • reinhard.d.klerk - 2012-11-21 17:40

    Only country in the world where the majority is protected from the minority. Laughable...

      prince.mthalane.3 - 2012-11-21 18:46

      it's the other way round,

  • strikeback.strikeback - 2012-11-21 17:50

    Employers should by now realise that this government will place their responsibility on you to look after the people of this country. They want you to employ the people that they force down your throat, and pay them what government wants. Your rights regarding choice on who you employ and what you are prepared to pay is of little importance. Fortunately this also has the result that only enough workers will be employed, and not a single extra person. If it is negative growth in job oportunities the government wants, then that is what they should get. Streamline your business now and rid yourself of the unproductive, striking workers and replace them with productive people. After all you are going to pay them top wages, whether they are productive or useless. Even better would be to mechanise and reduce your total workforce. Affirmative action has been designed to force companies to employ people that they don"t want. If we wanted to employ these people in the first place, we would have done so. Do not allow the government or any other institution to force you to employ any worker that you don"t want. Let them create work for their members. Their alliance partner, COSATU can start some business where you make no profit, but pay huge wages. Support

  • angela.matthewson - 2012-11-21 18:40

    Parliament’s portfolio committee on labour has invited the public to provide written submissions on the Bills by no later than 14 December 2012.

  • emmanuel.roodt - 2012-11-22 02:53

    My South African Secede? Resolution 235 in Chapter 14 of the South African Constitution states clearly: “The right of the South African people as a whole to self-determination, as manifested in this Constitution, does not preclude, within the framework of this right, recognition of the notion of the right of self-determination of any community sharing a common cultural and language heritage, within a territorial entity in the Republic or in any other way, determined by national legislation.” Does this mean Secession is legal?

  • avril.kotze - 2012-11-22 05:46

    At workers Parliament my speech was about the salary difference between men and women who have the same skills and perform the exact same job but for salary less than her male counterpart I would happy if this is implemented as current practices are Discrimination against women

      heinrich.etsebeth - 2012-11-22 10:49

      @avril, I do the same work as another woman I know with the same amount of experience. So that is Discrimination against men. See how I can spin it around. She agreed to do the job for that salary. If she was unwilling to do the job for that salary it was in her full right to negotiate on a higher salary and/or find a job at another company. I know people with less qualifications and experience than me working for almost double my salary. Is it fair. Probably not but I like the place I work at and that is what they are willing to pay. So I know if I want more I have to find another job ;)

      avril.kotze - 2012-11-23 12:11

      @heinrich I understand, my issue is if the same qualification and experience for the same job all should be paid the same and yes I think that the companies are at fault because the constitution allows for all to be treated as equals. In addition to this if she does not want to do the job the employer has a disciplinary code they should use it. I am saddened by you being treated and being paid less my friend that is not fair my speech at WP is based on a survey as a union official and found that when I enquired as to why such a big difference in salary between men and women I found that the answers I was getting is because they are the Bread winner or head of a household now my question was to this what about a single women or widowed surely they are head of the household. Whether you are male or female is not my issue I say =pay for =work. And yes you are being treated unfair so lodge a grievance iro the companies policies you need to raise your concerns with the difference in treatment.

  • eduard.marais.5 - 2012-11-22 06:29

    My 10 year old daughter has better economic sense than the ANC. The more the ANC try to regulate the job market / labour law, the more they stifle job creation.

  • arthur.mabentsela - 2012-11-22 08:02

    I agree with the unfair descrimnation but this south african citizen thing is really just crap. Why is the anc so interested in changing bills now! Worst when these new bills come out they come out as done decision, we as civilians just have to follow them.

  • tim.brink.1238 - 2012-11-22 08:44

    Viva unemployment viva!

  • reynhard.carelse - 2012-11-22 10:07

    I thought all persons in South Africa have a right to fair labour practice...why exclude people that want to work? This will cause more dissention and animosity, and will mean more people out of work…what’s wrong with these people …? It seems that arrogance and ignorance goes together…

  • Zahir - 2012-11-22 10:51

    Another anc policy that will destroy jobs

  • thuli.nkosi.167 - 2012-11-22 11:09

    Lovely thanks Nic, i'm definately in infavour of the amendment! intresting times!!!

  • Russel Mukondwa - 2013-03-12 16:02

    So what implications does this have for foeriegn nationals wishing to use their skills in South Africa?

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