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DEL Shines Light on Employment Equity Bill

September 6, 2021

Department of Employment and Labour

The employment and labour department hopes that the Employment Equity Amendment Bill is passed by parliament early in 2022.

The bill was tabled in parliament in July 2020.

The draft bill was published for comment in October 2018.

The explanatory summary was published in Government Gazette 43535.

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 proposed legislation will empower the labour minister to determine sectoral numerical targets in order to ensure the equitable representation of suitably qualified people from designated groups (blacks, women and persons with disabilities) at all occupational levels in the workforce.

It also seeks to enhance the administration of the act including the implementation of section 53 that provides for the issuing of a certificate by the minister confirming an employer’s compliance with Chapter II, or Chapters II and III, of the act, as the case may be, in relation to the conclusion of State Contracts.

The bill also aims to remove the requirement for psychological testing and similar assessments of employees to be certified by the Health Professions Council of South Africa and to remove a provision empowering non-designated employers to notify the Director-General of the labour department that they intend to voluntarily comply with Chapter III of the act as if they were a designated employer.

The portfolio committee on employment and labour called for comment on the bill at the end of 2020.

In a statement, the department indicates that its Employment Equity Directorate is gearing itself for the implementation and enforcement of the new Employment Equity Act once the parliamentary processes are finalised.

The committee adopted the bill at the end of August 2021 with amendments.

The director: employment equity, Ntsoaki Mamashela, declared that “all current EE plans will fall away in 22 September 2022 and the new plans will have to be aligned with five-year targets. Self-regulation has not worked”.

The department plans to wrap up sector engagements on proposed targets by February 2022.

Annual employment equity workshops are currently underway to conclude on 28 September 2021.