Thursday, April 28, 2016

Tough and Decisive Action is Needed to Ensure That Companies and Institutions Comply With the Country's Employment Equity Laws
26 April 2016

COSATU is disappointed but not shocked by the intolerable and depressing report released by the Commission for Employment Equity that shows that two decades after our democratic breakthrough, white people and males in particular occupy 68% of top management positions, while blacks only occupy 14,3% in the workplace. We are not shocked by this, as COSATU, because we have seen the open defiance and stubborn resistance by corporate South Africa and other various institutions to transformation in this country. From big business, to universities and other many sectors, there is open resistance to transformation.

South African companies and institutions have proven that they have no appreciation or simply do not care about the historical realities that have lead us to embark on a transformation journey. They are flatly refusing to abandon their old practices and are not prepared to reform the structure of the apartheid labour market.

Lately some of these companies and institutions through their funded proxies have been pushing back and trying to erode even the minimal gains that have been made. COSATU believes that we will not see any change unless we have an activist government that is prepared to impose virtue by legal force in this country.

This failure to transform the labour market can be seen in the existing inequalities in South Africa, where millions of ordinary workers are still victims of the inherited apartheid-era wage structure.

The enactment of the Employment Equity Amendment Act 2013, which came into effect on two years ago, has not done much to convince these companies or institutions to embrace the principle of employment equity and affirmative action, in order to redress the racial, gender and other injustices inherited from our past.

These amendments to the Act were meant to help expedite the transformation of the labour market and to ensure full participation of all South Africans in the economy of this country. Even an increase in the fines for employers who fail to prepare or implement an Employment Equity Plan has not shaken these institutions and companies.

COSATU feels that the Department of Labour and its inspectors must share the responsibility for failing to enforce the existing laws. We expect that the recent threats by the minister to be followed up by some action from her department this time around. Without any strong monitoring and enforcement mechanisms in place, we should no longer be shocked by these statistics. What is needed are not public condemnations but decisive action to force these companies to comply.

Issued by COSATU

Sizwe Pamla (National Spokesperson)
Congress of South African Trade Unions
110 Jorissen Cnr Simmonds Street

P.O.Box 1019
South Africa

Tel: +27 11 339-4911 Direct 010 219-1339
Mobile: 082 558 5962 - 060 975 6794

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