South Africa must push to transform the workplace or risk seeing the “status quo prevail for the next 100 years”, said Employment and Labor Minister Thulas Nxesi.
Nxesi was talking about the latest employment equity figures in South Africa, which show that more than two decades after the enactment of the Employment Equity Act (EEA) to transform the labor market South Africa, compliance levels are still low.
White and Indian population groups in South Africa remain overrepresented at the senior management level. By comparison, African and people of color groups remain vastly underrepresented, Nxesi said.
He added that the representation of foreign nationals still remains relatively high at 3%, although a slight decrease of 0.1% is seen from the previous year at this professional level. Transformation at the top of management is most visible within the public sector.
“I hope that the amendments to the EA currently proposed in Parliament will change the situation. Business cannot continue as usual as our people compete for space in the job market,” he said.
Nxesi aims to meet these numbers through the introduction of the Employment Equity Amendment Bill in September 2022, in what is expected to be the forefront of a new transformational push for the country.
The bill will allow the minister to set employment equity goals for different industries. The Minister may set targets for different professional levels, sub-sectors or regions.
The amendments would also require the government to only issue contracts to companies that have been certified as compliant with this law. The bill is currently before President Cyril Ramaphosa for consideration.
Meanwhile, Ramaphosa has established a new broad-based Advisory Board on Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) including members from the Competition Commission, labor unions and the black business community.
Their task will be to propose ways to improve representation on boards and in leadership positions, create an equitable workforce, expand the black skilled workforce, and increase overall black participation in the economy.
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