Commission on Employment Equity Workshop: planning

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Labour

05 June 2007
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Meeting report

LABOUR PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
06 June 2007
COMMISSION ON EMPLOYMENT EQUITY WORKSHOP: PLANNING

Chairperson: Ms O Kasienyane (ANC)

Relevant documents:
Commission on Employment Equity (CEE) presentation
7th Commission on Employment Equity (CEE) Annual Report 2006/07
 
SUMMARY
The Committee discussed issues arising from the 22 May 2007 presentation by the Commission on Employment Equity. This was in preparation for a workshop with the CEE to clarify questions arising about the effectiveness of the Employment Equity Act. The issues they suggested that should be examined included empowerment of black women, disabled people, training in the workplace, and Africans being effectively represented as a designated group.

The Committee noted that youth unemployment had not been focused on by the CEE which it should be. There was also discussion about the decrease of disabled employees in the workplace, as well as the lack of black women in senior management positions. The absence of all opposition members in the Committee was also discussed.

MINUTES
Deliberations on 22 May presentation by the Commission on Employment Equity (CEE)
The Chairperson noted the two resolutions emerging from the 22 May meeting with the CEE:
- deliberation on the report presented by the Commission
- facilitation of a workshop by the CEE on the Employment Equity Act.

He said that it had been agreed that there be further interaction between the Committee and the CEE because of the issues that had been brought up in the CEE presentation, concerning compliance and affirmative action. The Committee felt that the CEE needed to clarify some of the phrases they used such as ‘designated groups’, which came up during a discussion on female representation in the workplace.

Another matter needing examination at the workshop would be that of training in the workplace. The Chairperson felt that recommendations were needed about training in the work place. She felt that those who benefited from this opportunity were white people and not other racial groups. Another issue was that of disabled people who were not optimally employed in the workplace.

Discussion
The Chairperson apologized on behalf of Ms L N Moss (ANC) and Mr Prince Zulu (IFP) for being unable to attend the meeting. The floor was opened for discussion.

Mr B Mkongi (ANC) said that there were issues of concern in the report, one of which being youth unemployment. The Employment Equity Act (EEA) excluded young people, and focused more on compliance and meeting set targets - rather than the youth. The issue of people with disabilities also needed assessment. The target for hiring disabled people was 3% but only 1% had been met and the numbers had begun to decrease. Government had to lead by example as this Act was meant for the public sector. If Government could not meet target, how could the private sector be expected to do so. Black women in the work place also seemed to be marginalised when it came to senior management positions. Black women did not form their own ‘designated group’. The report talked about 'women' in the work environment, but it was not established whether it was referring to black women alone or both black and white women.

The Chairperson agreed with the black/white issue, and said the matter would be clarified at the workshop.

Mr Mkongi asked if Africans would benefit from this Act. The case of Indians, Coloureds and Africans as one designated group should be examined, and if Africans are not effectively represented, the Act should be re-evaluated.

The Chairperson said the term ‘African’ should be clarified

In reply to Mr E Mtshali (ANC) asking for the date of the workshop, the Chairperson said that the date had not yet been set, and that it was up to the Committee to decide. She noted that none of the opposition members were present. She added that on 22 May only one member from the opposition, Ms S Rajbally (MF), had been present.

Mr Mkongi stated that the mandate of the African National Congress (ANC) was to eradicate poverty and unemployment. The opposition did not always need to be there to discuss these matters. The ANC could push forward on its own on these matters despite the criticism it received in the media from the opposition.

The Chairperson acknowledged Mr Mkongi’s views, but said that the Committee was a multi-party committee and therefore it was necessary to get different perspectives. The Constitution stated this, and the opinions of the opposition mattered. However the Committee would not be bogged down by the absence of the opposition. Recommendations and proposals were needed from the Committee to present to the CEE at the workshop.

Mr O Mogale (ANC) asked if the Management Committee still existed, so that a date could be set up for the workshop. The issue of the EEA was a class issue and opposition parties, such as the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the Freedom Front (FF) should not be excluded when dealing with this matter. Since the ANC was the only party present, it would be difficult to deal with the issues today. He asked if the meeting could be regarded as an ANC study group or was the Committee to continue with the agenda

The Chairperson stated that the programme was clear: it was the Committee's meeting, not a meeting for the ANC. Due to the absence of other parties, the meeting could be shortened but not postponed.

Mr E Mtshali said that the Labour Relations Act should be discussed at the workshop, as one of the main issues is that it is not class conscious.

The Chairperson commented that the Committee still had an outstanding workshop with the Department of Labour (DoL).

Mr Mkongi wanted to know how long the workshop would be and the dates.

The Chairperson replied that the date should be before the ANC’s Policy Conference, but the matter would be dealt with by the administration. The workshop should last about three days and would take place over a weekend

Mr Mkongi said that ANC members should go to the Policy Conference and deal with those issues, but the date of the workshop should not be set in relation to that conference.

Mr Siboza stated that the report about the Sector Education Training Authorities (SETAs) should be viewed with the same importance as the EEA workshop, so a meeting should be held in order to discuss it.

The Chairperson said that the 19 to 22 June was set aside for the SETAs to be looked at. The Committee was thanked for its deliberations on the workshop.

The meeting was adjourned.

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