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Nedlac Under the Spotlight

September 27, 2019

Department of Employment and Labour

27 September 2019

The employment and labour minister, Thulas Nxesi, has vowed that government will strengthen Nedlac as a vehicle to re-invigorate social dialogue and the social compact.

The minister was speaking at the 24th NEDLAC Annual Summit in Johannesburg.

Other steps to be taken include the filling of crucial vacancies at Nedlac such as executive director and chief financial officer; that government’s collective engagement is at a high and strategic level and that the founding protocols of Nedlac will be revisited to promote greater inclusivity.

The minister also confirmed that state-owned enterprises were under the microscope with particular attention being placed on Eskom.

“Any economic growth is invariably tied to a competitive electricity price, security of supply and a sustainable state-owned utility that will require significant restructuring.”

The minister added that a “failure to fast track necessary changes to Eskom will continue to dampen growth and investment”.

Crucial issues include the proposed restructuring, the filling of critical vacancies, an appropriate pricing structure and the role of Independent Power Producers.

The minister also called for the Jobs Fund’s performance and impact to be assessed together with challenges and to make the necessary changes if need be.

Impediments that need to be urgently addressed by government include policy and regulatory hurdles in relation to the immigration regulatory regime; streamlining the water use licensing application; decarbonizing the economy through legislative instruments to achieve carbon reduction and regulating the pharmaceutical regime.

Meanwhile, speaking at a departmental Employment Standards inspector’s awards ceremony, the minister called on the department’s inspectorate to get tougher on employers not complying with the country’s labour laws before the situation got out of hand.

The minister warned that “we cannot in this day-and-age continue with the employment of foreign nationals, and think there will be peace if you are going to take low-level jobs of low-skilled people and give it to displaced people”.

The minister added that the “intention of employing displaced people was a deliberate act by unscrupulous employers to pay them starvation wages” and thereby boost profits via cheap labour.

The hospitality, restaurant, construction and security sectors were singled out for exploiting displaced foreigners with the phenomenon now shifting into retail.