Labour to crack down on non-compliance

More than two decades since the enactment of the Employment Equity Act (EEA) to transform the South African labour market, compliance levels still remain regretfully low.

Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi and the Commission for Employment Equity (CEE) on Thursday launched the 22nd annual employment equity report on workplace transformation in South Africa.

Speaking at the launch, Minister Nxesi said:: “If we are serious about transformation we should not be begging now. The time has now come to get hard on non-compliance”.

Nxesi said there was a need to push hard for transformation, “if we do not do it now we will see the status quo prevailing for the next 100 years”.

He said the measure of success of society will be defined by the extent in which government had been able to uplift the vulnerable in society.

The Minister admitted government’s failure for its snail pace in transforming the country.

“I hope the proposed EE amendments currently in Parliament will serve as a game changer. It cannot be business as usual while our people compete for space in the labour market,” he said.

Nxesi noted with concern the continued and flourishing slave conditions in the labour market, wherein the immigrants were being exploited, saying “we seem to be going back to slave conditions in this country”.

CEE report details

The latest CEE report showed that in 2021 White males accounted for 63.2% (2020: 64.7%) of Top management positions; followed by Africans 17.0% (2020: 15.8%); Indians account for 10.9% (2020: 10.6%) and Coloureds made 5.9% (2020: 5.7%).

The report also showed that White and Indian population groups remain over represented in relation to their Economically Active Population (EAP) at the Top Management level.

The African and Coloured population groups remain grossly under represented and the representation of Foreign Nationals still remain relatively high at 3.0%, although a slight decline of 0.1% is noted from the previous year at this occupational level.

Transformation at the top management is more visible within the public administration, said the report.

The EAP is based on Statistics South Africa quarterly labour force survey data. The EAP is used as a benchmark to assist employers in the analysis of their workforce to determine the degree of under or over-representation of the designated groups in the workforce.

In terms of the National Economically Active by Population Group and Gender, the report shows that males of all racial groups accounted for 55.3%, while females made 44.7%.

African males account for 43.6%, Coloured male 5.0%, Indian male 1.8% and White male 4.9%. While African females accounted for 35.8%, Coloured female 4.1%, Indian female 0.9% and White female 3.9%.

The disabled group at top management level has remained at 1.6 percent after a 1.5 percent representation in 2019.

The CEE report covers the period from 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022.

The report analysis covered the six occupational levels of the workforce profile and movements according to population groups, gender and disability. These levels include: top management level, senior management, professionally qualified/middle management, skilled technical/junior management, semi-skilled, and unskilled.

It also provides the status of employment equity in the various economic sectors and business types reported in the 2021.

Furthermore, the report outlines a lack of proper workplace barriers analysis and lack of implementation of affirmative action measures required to achieve employment equity.

“At the Senior Management level a similar trend to Top management is observed. The White population group although declining in representation of approximately 1% year-on-year, continue to dominate at this occupational level,” the report stated.

The report said that their representation is the highest at 51.4%, while the second highest is the representation of the Indian population group at 12% at this occupational level.

“Both of these population groups are grossly over represented when compared to their EAP. The same trend is observed in the Public Service and the Private Sector, where both the White and Indian population groups are over represented in relation to their EAP at this occupational level. The Private Sector employs more Foreign Nationals (3.2%) compared to the Public Service (0.4%) at this level,” said the report.

The report further stated that the high representation of Foreign Nationals at Educational Institutions (5%) is noted at Senior Management occupational level.

“The racial misalignment repeats itself in the Professionally Qualified/Middle Management level. Here the White, Indian and Coloured population groups are above their EAP at this level. Africans are the only population group that is far below their EAP at this occupational level, and the gains made for this group over the years remain insignificant.

“The representation of the African population group is approximately 33% below their EAP. The White population group remains dominant in both the Public Service and Private Sector,” the report said.

The female group having reached their EAP, is performing significantly well at Professionally qualified occupational level, said the report.

Skilled Technical level

At the Skilled Technical level, the African population group remains below their EAP, whereas all the other population groups have exceeded their EAP.

In the Semi-Skilled level the Coloured and Indian population groups have experienced a decline in terms of their representation. The report said there appears to be a trend to employ more people from designated groups in this category.

While the Unskilled level is dominated by the African and Coloured population groups, the representation of the African female group at (53.5%) dominates at this occupational level, followed by the African males group (38.2%) in the Public Service.

In the Private Sector, the African male group has the highest representation (48.5%), followed by the African female group (34.5%) at this occupational level.

Meanwhile, Foreign National representation remained at 3.7% as recorded in the previous year, and the White and Indian population groups still remain well below their EAP at this level.

EE Amendment Bill currently underway in Parliament

The CEE launches the report on the back of EE Amendment Bill currently underway in Parliament.

Commission for Employment Equity (CEE) Chairperson, Tabea Kabinde, said now that the Employment Equity Amendment Bill had been finalised it is now a matter of urgency that this should be assented into law.

Kabinde said only 10.8 percent of employers reported barriers towards implementing transformation.

Kabinde asked if the estimated 90 percent were not experiencing barriers, why was there a high rate of disputes, especially those relating to pay disparities referred to Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration?

The CEE Chairperson said the Commission was concerned that not enough has been done to address the plight of the persons with disability.

She said some of the trends and disputes emerging in the transformation space was that there were 4 308 cases of unfair discrimination that were reported between 2019 and June 2020. She said the picture could be worse had it not been victimisation as more cases go unreported.

Source: South African Government News Agency