Last week, the Commission on Employment Equity (CEE) released its 11th Annual Report, which focuses on the state of workplace transformation in South Africa.
In her foreword to the report, Chairperson Mpho Nkeli comments on ‘clear signs [of progress] in reports received from employers for the 2010 reporting period‘, although she also warns that ‘generally, the representation of Coloured, women and people with disabilities still lags behind at most levels when measured against their Economically Active Population (EAP)’. Nkeli also encourages employers to continue implementing Employment Equity (EE), even during times of economic insecurity: ‘tough trading conditions and the negative effects of the recession must not deter people from putting pedal in order to drive and accelerate transformation‘.
This tone reflects something of an increased optimism from that captured in the Commission’s 10th Annual Report, which Nkeli described as ‘discouraging because it indicates a very slow progress on transformation and potential to erode the insignificant achievement made to-date.‘
However, the 2011 report also confirms that transformation remains an extremely slow process: in the last reporting period, 73% of top management in South Africa was white, and 81% male. Only 1.4% were persons with disabilities.
Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant has expressed far more negative views on the results presented in the 2011 report. In a subsequent column for ANC Today, the Minister deemed the pace of change ‘disappointing‘, ‘discomforting‘ and ‘disconcerting‘. Oliphant writes,
‘It is thirteen years since the enactment of the Employment Equity Act; this gloomy picture is a call for drastic measures to be taken not only by the government, but in partnership with organised business, organised labour and community as a whole.‘
According to Oliphant, the Department of Labour and the CEE are working to amend the Employment Equity Act, with deliberations currently taking place in NEDLAC. These amendments aim to ‘close gaps’ and strengthen implementation and enforcement measures, including court referral processes, evidentiary compliance, and ‘up-scaling fines sufficiently to deter designated employers from not complying with the Act’.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
I am very happy to announce that the video footage of the public Dialogue on Employment Equity: Ticking Boxes or True Transformation held on 4 May has been uploaded!
Have a look at our YouTube stream to watch the opening statements made by Chair Zetu Makamandela-Mguqulwa and panelists Dr. Zimitri Erasmus, Ian Ollis, MP, Kashif Wicomb, Ernst Roets, and James Ngculu.
I am also going to post each video clip on our Employment Equity Forum blog page – please leave your comments and feedback!
Opening by Zetu Makamandela-Mguqulwa, UCT Ombud:Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Just after I posted on the debate over equity law changes last night, the Presidency (@PresidencyZA) tweeted a press release from the office of Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane, in response to calls for Jimmy Manyi’s resignation, following “statements he made last year which had implications on the country’s race relations”.
The statement reads:
“Mr Manyi has since apologised for his statements and for the offence they have caused.
Mr Jimmy Manyi remains the Cabinet Spokesperson and the Chief Executive Officer of GCIS, and continues to execute his responsibilities. The Minister further expresses confidence in the ability of Mr Manyi to execute his duties.
The Minister would like to state that Mr Manyi in executing his duties has a responsibility to represent the views and decisions of government and not that of his own. He will continue to receive the support of the ministry and should be given an opportunity to prove himself in his new role.” (full statement here)
This morning’s Cape Times headlines accordingly read, “Government Backs Manyi”. Incidentally, if you are on twitter and are interested my new online forays, follow me on @opinionkate!Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Apologies for the quiet state of the SA Reconciliation Barometer blog in the past few weeks – but rest assured that I have definitely been following the very public controversy surrounding recently-released comments made by government spokesperson and former labour DG Jimmy Manyi last year, and the subsequent accusations of racism by Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel.
Manyi reportedly made the following comments in an interview on KykNet’s Robinson Regstreeks show, in March of 2010:
“I think it’s very important for coloured people in this country to understand that South Africa belongs to them in totality not just the Western Cape. So this over-concentration of coloureds in the Western Cape is not working for them. They should spread in the rest of the country … so they must stop this over-concentration situation because they are in over-supply where they are so you must look into the country and see where you can meet the supply.”
In his front-page response, Manuel countered that Manyi’s comments reflect an intent to “carve away the basic premise of the Employment Equity Act” and the infiltration of racism in the “highest echelons of government”. Manuel wrote,
“We were present at the point of the debate of the first Employment Equity Bill; we expressed a complete comfort with the assignment of “designated groups” to include “black people” which means “Africans, Coloureds and Indians” because it served as a representation of our constitutionality and as the fruits of our struggle.
When, in your capacity as chairperson of the Employment Equity Commission, you made strange utterances that sought to carve away the basic premise of the Employment Equity Act, we should have been more vigilant.
The just and constitutionally obligated provisions for redress are not and can never be an excuse to perpetuate racism.
Now, in the light of the utterances you made when you were the DG of the Department of Labour, and given the fact that the amendments to the Employment Equity Act were drafted during your tenure, I have a sense that your racism has infiltrated the highest echelons of government.”
The controversy comes in the midst of a recent proposal to amend the Employment Equity Act: current wording of the Act reads that appointments should reflect the “demographic profile of the national and regional economically active population (EAP)”, and proposals to remove the word “regional” have been interpreted as a threat to employment prospects for residents of some provinces.
Speaking yesterday, President Zuma commented that the proposed changes “do not in any way affect negatively the employment opportunities for the Coloured and/or Indian population. In fact, it makes it easier for employers to comply with the law and create more job opportunities for all the designated groups.” According to the president, both the words “national” and “regional” will be removed, with the intended outcome that “employers will have the flexibility to decide whether to use regional or national demographics depending on their operations.” (my emphasis)Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )