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Commission for Employment Equity gives poor advice to Minister Oliphant

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

Solidarity’s Centre for Fair Labour Practices this week submitted the trade union’s comments on Minister Mildred Oliphant’s controversial draft employment equity codes to the Department of Labour. Dirk Groenewald, head of the Centre for Fair Labour Practices, says Solidarity is convinced that the poor advice received from the Commission for Employment Equity (CEE), on whose advice Minister Oliphant has published the codes, has contributed to the harmful content of the codes.

Groenewald says that should the proposed measures contained in the codes be implemented it would leave many South Africans no choice but to relocate. ‘For reasons based on race, people will have to relocate to other regions of the country where they are not “over-represented”, in search of employment’.

Since 2007, the Solidarity Research Institute (SRI) has been highlighting serious flaws in the CEE’s annual report on racial distribution in the labour market. At the launch of the SRI’s analysis of the CEE’s 2013 report on 15 May last year, Paul Joubert, senior researcher, indeed warned about the CEE’s point of departure of absolute race representivity.

‘Once again [the CEE] uses the racial composition of the economically active population of South Africa as the only and final yardstick for measuring the progress of affirmative action,’ Joubert said at the time. ‘It seems that the CEE will only be satisfied once South Africa looks exactly the same at every occupational level within every employer at every geographical location in the country.’

Given that the minister relies on the CEE’s advice and information it is, according to Groenewald, not surprising that the minister is proposing employment equity codes that aspire to achieve a redistribution of race in South Africa.

Minister Oliphant’s codes come amid more than 30 lawsuits in which opposes a rigid, race-based implementation of affirmative action. For some time now, Solidarity has been pointing out that the rigid enforcement of the national race demographics will leave those people, who are “over-represented” at a regional basis, no choice but to relocate to other regions where they are “under-represented”.

Please see here for Solidarity’s media statement on the CEE’s 2013 report.

Please see here for the Solidarity Research Institute’s analysis of the CEE’s 2013 report.

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