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DEL Shines Light on Employment Equity Amendment Bill

March 15, 2022

Parliament

The employment and labour department recently provided responses to submissions on the Employment Equity Amendment Bill in parliament.

The department also provided feedback to the national council of provinces (NCOP) on the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Amendment Bill.

The select committee on trade and industry, economic development, small business, tourism, employment and labour held hearings on the bills in February 2022.

The Employment Equity Amendment Bill was tabled in parliament in July 2020.

The bill aims to amend the Employment Equity Act, 1998, so as to:

• amend a definition;
• insert certain definitions, to substitute a definition and to delete a definition;
• provide for the Minister to identify sectoral numerical targets in order to ensure the equitable representation of suitably qualified people from designated groups;
• provide criteria for the Minister to issue certificates; and
• provide for matters connected therewith.

The national assembly (NA) passed the bill and sent it to the NCOP for concurrence in November 2021.

During the briefing, the department declared that it agrees with the COSATU proposal that it is important for targets to take into account regional demographic diversity as South Africa is a diverse nation and this is often linked to geography.

The department called on the select committee to consider the proposed amendment to Section 42(a) of the act as proposed by COSATU “as this amendment formed part of the NEDLAC agreement and was mistakenly omitted in the Bill tabled in Parliament”.

The Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Amendment Bill was tabled in parliament in September 2020.

The NA passed the bill and sent to the NCOP for concurrence in September 2021.

The bill seeks to amend the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act, 1993, so as to:

• amend, substitute, insert, delete and repeal certain definitions and sections;
• provide for matters pertaining to the Board and its members;
• provide for the Commissioner to perform certain functions that were previously performed by the Director-General;
• further provide for matters pertaining to the rehabilitation, re-integration and return to work of occupationally injured and diseased employees;
• regulate the use of health care services;
• provide for the Commissioner to review pension claims or awards;
• provide for administrative penalties;
• regulate compliance and enforcement; and
• provide for matters connected therewith.

During the briefing, the department pointed out that, in terms of clause 43 of the bill, the employment and labour minister is empowered to regulate registered third parties that transact with the Fund.

The department asserted that the bill should not be rejected “merely on the intimation and fear that the Minister may introduce draconian regulations in terms of 73(4)”.