By Sinazo Mkoko
In April this year, President Cyril Ramaphosa signed into law the Employment Equity Amendment Bill of 2023. This Amendment Bill seeks to advance the transformation of South Africa’s workforce by setting equity targets for economic sectors and geographical regions and requiring businesses to develop transformation plans. The Bill is meant to come into effect on September 1, 2023.
The Presidency stated that the Bill amends the Employment Equity Act of 1998 (Act No. 55 of 1998) with new measures to promote diversity and equality in the workplace.
How will this Bill affect employment practices in South Africa?
According to the Presidency, the Bill empowers the Minister of Employment and Labour to set employment equity targets for economic sectors as well as regions where transformation is lagging. “The amendment Bill also empowers the Minister of Employment and Labour to regulate compliance criteria and issue Compliance Certificates as per Section 53 of the Employment Equity Act,” they said.
The Act also gives power to the Minister of Employment and Labour to set regional targets, given that racial diversity in South Africa often has regional differences.
While South African labour law requires employers to pay workers equal pay for equal work, this Bill provides clear definitions of discrimination and sets out what workers can do when facing such discrimination, including lodging grievances with the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration, or the Labour Courts.
Under the new Bill, companies with more than 50 employees will need to submit equity plans reflecting the demography of the region they operate in and state how they intend to achieve them.
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The national workshops by the Department of Employment and Labour in partnership with the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) are underway in different parts of the country. The Department and CCMA are conducting the 2023 Employment Equity Roadshows in the form of national workshops under the theme “Real transformation makes business sense”. The focus of this year’s workshops will be to create awareness about, among other things, the recently promulgated EE amendments.
While this roadshow has already taken place in some provinces, such as Limpopo, the Northern Cape, the North West, and Gauteng, more roadshows are coming to the following provinces:
- Emalahleni – 15 August 2023)
- Mbombela- (16 August 2023)
- George (15 August 2023)
- Cape Town (16 August 2023)
- Gqeberha (22 August 2023)
- East London (23 August )
- Mthatha (24 August)
- Welkom (22 August 2023)
- Bloemfontein (23 August 2023)
- Durban (29 August 2023)
Sources: The Presidency|