South Africa is far from a Sunset clause of Employment Equity regulation

Ujuh Reporter

South Africa cannot even begin to contemplate the implementation of a “Sunset” clause on its employment equity legislation because there remains a huge gap to fulfill its mandate of transforming the workplace into one that resembles the country’s demographics, says Tabea Kabinde‚ chairperson of the Commission for Employment Equity.

Kabinde was commenting on the findings of the 2017/18 Commission for Employment Equity annual report. She said 20 years after South Africa established the commission “we are still nowhere near celebrating effective implementation of the transformation legislation.”

The latest employment equity numbers show that 67% of all top management in companies remains white, 14.3% African, 5.1% Coloured and 4% Indian. On a gender scale, the numbers show that 77% of top management remains male. The numbers are largely unimpressive throughout the different categories as showed in the table below:

Employment Equity figures from the 2017/18 report

Kabinde said given the slow pace of transformation the commission is exploring other effective implementation and compliance mechanisms.

She said the gender picture is particularly discouraging. “This bleak picture is after 20 years and is far from desirable.”

She said it was long noted that skills development should be the key instrument of transforming the workplace. But its become clear that skills development act lever has had a minimal role. “Employers still complain of a lack of a skilled labour pool from which to draw from to increase the percentage of employees from designated groups at the top four occupational levels of organisations. This is particularly concerning when the Training and Development activities reported by designated employers seem to favour the White Population group.

“Year-on-year, the statistics indicate that the White Population Group remains favoured for training and development, while males remain favoured in terms of gender. Thus the two pieces of legislation that are supposed to be supporting each other in driving transformation are not achieving the desired outcome.”

Kabinde said par of the problem is that “There is simply no real political will and commitment to transform.” And South Africa also lacks ethical leaders.

Quoting from Cynthia Rose of Ethics Monitor, Kabinde notes that leaders with low ethics focus on compliance, as opposed to commitment in response to legislation. “The Low Ethics Leader often focuses on the quality and consistency of enforcement, as opposed to embracing shared values and sustainability of outcomes in making a decision on how to respond to legislation. This paradigm is totally devastating to transformation, which results in Policy Makers and Enforcers doing a lot of things, but achieving very little in transformation.

“South Africa is in dire need of ethical leaders. It is common knowledge that we get what we reward. The country therefore needs to be preoccupied with answering the questions: “How do we create ethical leadership and how do we reward ethical leadership?”

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