Employment Services Bill: Department of Labour briefing & adoption

NCOP Public Enterprises and Communication

18 November 2013
Chairperson: Ms M Themba (ANC, Mpumalanga)
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Meeting Summary

The Department of Labour (DoL) briefed the Committee on the Employment Services Bill. The Department delivered a clear and coherent presentation on the Bill, including a summary of the main intention behind the Bill and the background. It was explained that in 2007 the DoL had done a comparative study, with the assistance of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), into inspection and enforcement services, labour policy and industrial relations, and public employment services, which had identified certain areas needing legislative support. In addition, the transfer of the Skills Development Act to the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) meant that certain provisions relating to Productivity SA needed to now be incorporated into DoL legislation. This Bill would essentially provide a re-invigorated legal basis for the provision of public employment services, and sought to meet government’s objectives of more jobs, decent work and sustainable livelihoods, and assist employees and employers to adapt to changing labour market conditions. Certain free services would be provided to citizens, such as registration of job seekers, placement opportunities, matching services, referral to education and training and careers information. The Minister was now permitted, after consultation, to introduce schemes to promote the employment of work seekers, to assist employees facing retrenchments to remain in employment, and to promote rehabilitation and re-entry into employment of employees injured on duty or who had contracted an occupational disease. The Minister of Labour and Minister of Home Affairs would be working more closely together on the requirements for hiring foreign labour, and there were more stringent conditions around employing only those with valid work permits. Finally, the Bill sought to entrench in legislation the sheltered employment enterprises (formerly called Sheltered Employment Factories) to enhance their funding and ability to grow. Members were then given a succinct clause by clause synopsis of clauses 1 to 54 of the Bill, explaining what each clause was intended to deal with, and its main elements.

Lengthy discussion was held after the presentation, with Members raising issues related to the Bill as well as digressing to other labour-related issues, with the permission of the Chairperson, as she felt that it would be useful to allow them to air their views and see if some solutions could be found during the constituency period. Members wanted to know more about the intentions of the Bill, monitoring mechanisms to ensure compliance with the Bill, and whether the Bill adequately addressed the problem that foreign workers seemed to be gaining jobs whilst South African citizens were not being employed. Several concerns were expressed by a number of Members about the youth unemployment, and what specifically was being done to address it. They also asked about the skilling of youth, and one Member in particular asked why the sheltered employment enterprises could not be used to skill the youth, to which the DoL explained that this would mean that the functions of the enterprises would have to be shifted again to the Department of Higher Education and Training, as well as not being in line with the original intention behind the enterprises. It was suggested that the DoL should obtain and study the Committee’s Report on a recent visit to the Sheltered Employment Factories in some provinces. Members asked for specific comment on clauses 5, 8, 10, 12, 13, and 42 to 47.

The Committee then deliberated on the Bill clause by clause. Members agreed that minor amendments would be made to clauses 35(9) and 45(3), to cover the eventuality of death and appointment of a new official. ANC Members indicated their agreement with all clauses. However, the DA wanted its dissent to be noted on clauses 5, 8, 10, 12 and 13, and said that this would then result in the DA also voting against the whole Bill, despite having indicated that it was in agreement with some of the other clauses. The majority of Members therefore adopted the Bill and the Committee Report, with the DA’s dissenting vote being recorded.
 

Meeting report

Employment Services Bill, 2012: Memorandum on the objects: Department of Labour briefing
Mr Sam Morotoba, Director General, Department of Labour, tabled and gave Members a brief background to the Employment Services Bill (the Bill). The process surrounding the Bill dated back to 2007, when the Department of Labour (DoL or the Department) had been reviewing its programmes. With the assistance of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), a comparative study was conducted, focusing on inspection and enforcement services, labour policy and industrial relations, and public employment services – inclusive of the Unemployment Insurance Fund and Compensation Fund, which were active labour market interventions to assist employees in the case of loss of work or due to injuries. All of these programmes were supported by Programme 1: Administration in the Department. The Employment Services Bill now provided for the re-organisation of public employment services in line with these priorities.

He noted that when the Skills Development Act was transferred to the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), certain provisions remained under the Department of Labour, and these were also now incorporated into the Bill. It would essentially provide a re-invigorated legal basis for the provision of public employment services. The Bill had gone through an extensive consultation and adjustment processes with Cabinet and the public. The Bill sought to contribute to the government’s objectives of “more jobs, decent work and sustainable livelihoods”, to promote employment preservation, and to assist employees and employers to adapt to changing labour market conditions.

Mr Morotoba summarised that the Bill’s strategic objectives would be achieved through institutional arrangements and the further establishment of free services to citizens, such as registration of job seekers, placement opportunities, matching services, referral to education and training and careers information. Most importantly, the Bill was in line with ILO conventions, in which the Department was actively involved. In addition, the Bill allowed the Minister to issue regulations requiring employers to register vacancies in specific categories of work, permitted the Minister to introduce schemes to promote the employment of work seekers, to assist employees facing retrenchments to remain in employment, and to promote rehabilitation and re-entry into employment of employees injured on duty or who had contracted an occupational disease.  This was where the link between the Bill and the Compensation Fund came in.

The Minister of Labour would work in close consultation with the Minister of Home Affairs, given that there were a large number of undocumented migrant workers being employed and exploited, due to not having the relevant papers. This consultation would ensure there was synergy between the two departments around the basic conditions of employment. The Bill also addressed a problem, which had for long been noted by the Auditor-General (AG), around the legal status of the Sheltered Employment Factories (SEFs). These factories dated back to 1943, when they were established by a decree to try to assist the employment of the disabled, which had then moved from one department to the other. Because of the subsidies given to these entities by National Treasury, in order to comply with the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) a legal basis for these factories was needed.

Mr Morotoba then proceeded to take the Committee through a clause-by-clause analysis of the Bill. Clause 1 provided for definitions, clause 2 outlined the purposes of the Act and specified the measures and institutional frameworks that would be used to achieve the purpose, clause 3 gave effect to the interpretation of the Act and the Constitution, while clause 4 provided for the administration of the Act by the Director General of the Department.

Chapter 2 of the Bill explained what public employment services were all about. Clause 5 provided for the functions of the public employment services (PES), such as matching work-seekers with available opportunities, advising workers on access to social security benefits and providing specialised services to assist vulnerable work seekers free of charge. Mr Morotoba noted that private employment agencies (also called labour brokers) were trading lucratively, providing the services that should be provided free of charge by government. It was felt that if this was now regulated, there would be more opportunities and less hardships on young work seekers. Clause 6 gave the Minister power to establish schemes to promote the employment of youth. Clause 8 protected employment conditions and opportunities of South African citizens and permanent residents, by prohibiting the employment of foreign nationals who did not have a valid work visa, issued in terms of the Immigration Act and this highlighted the key consultations between the DoL and Department of Home Affairs (DHA). Clause 9 prohibited an employer from requiring or permitting a foreign national to perform work that his or her work visa did not allow. Clause 10 enabled the Minister to make regulations for the reporting and registration of existing or new vacancies by employers with the public employment services. He noted that the clause read that the Minister “may” make regulations, and that was in line with section 23 of the Skills Development Act. Clause 11 provided for the type of information the Department may want, while clause 12 provided for the sources of funding which could be utilised to provide employment services to South Africans in terms of the Bill.

Under chapter 3, clause 13 spoke to the registration of private employment agencies. The Minister may prescribe registration criteria, to differentiate between agencies that provided temporary employment services (labour brokers or TES) and other functions of private employment agencies, in order to work with inspectors and eradicate the abuse of workers. Any cases of abuses were met with a fine and certificates could be revoked. Clause 14 prohibited private employment agencies from performing certain acts, including giving information and performing functions for which they were not registered. These issues related to section 158 of the Labour Relations Act (LRA). Clause 15 prohibited private employment agencies from charging work-seekers any fees for services rendered. However, the Minster may permit the charging of certain fees for specific categories of employees, or for the provision of specialised services (such as actors using agencies). Clauses 16 and 17 specified the information that private employment agencies were required to keep, and said information must be kept confidential. Some agencies had been found to be involved in human trafficking. Clauses 18 and 19 provided the conditions under which the registrar (charged with registering private employment agencies) could cancel a private employment agency’s registration.

In Chapter 4, clauses 20 and 21 provided for the establishment of the Employment Services Board, which was  to assist the Minister with a number of regulations to put the Bill in operation. Clause 22 set out the functions of the Board. Clauses 23 to 28 covered a number of Board issues, such as constitution, disqualification from membership, resignation and removal from office of members. Clause 29 provided for the funding of the Board, and stipulated that the Director-General, as the accounting officer of the DoL, was responsible for those funds. Clause 30 dealt with the reporting obligations of the Board on its activities and functions.

In Chapter 5, clauses 31 and 32 were taken from the current Skills Development Act. They provided for Productivity SA, and for it to fall under DoL. Clauses 33 and 34 provided for its composition and functions. Clause 35 dealt with the appointment of the Chief Executive Officer, while clause 36 empowered the Minister to dissolve the Board of Productivity SA. Clauses 37 and 38 provided for the disqualification from membership of the Board, clauses 39 and 40 provided for the remuneration of members of the Board, and clause 41 dealt with the reporting obligations of the Board.

Chapter 6 addressed the promotion of supported work for persons with disabilities. Mr Morotoba made it clear that anyone who acquired a disability through an accident or illness was not obliged to work at these sheltered factories, but could continue to work as s/he had before, if possible, with assistive devices. These specific factories were primarily meant for employment of people with long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments, who may not be able to participate fully or effectively on a competitive basis with others in society. The term “sheltered employment factories” was being replaced with “supported employment enterprises”, and this was also seen in the definitions. Clauses 42 to 47 set out how they would operate.

Chapter 7 contained general provisions. Clause 48 provided for the jurisdiction of the Labour Court, and clause 49 provided for the monitoring and enforcement of the provisions. Clause 50 provided for offences and penalties for contravention of certain provisions of the Bill. It was highlighted that two new sub-items had been added, to clarify the penalties in relation to contraventions of the Immigration Act. Clause 51 provided for the procedures that the Minister must follow when delegating functions to the DG and officials in the Department. Clause 52 set out issues in respect of which the Minister may make regulations, clause 53 provided for transitional provisions and clause 54 provided for the short title and commencement of the Act.

The three schedules dealt, in turn, with the repeal of certain sections of the Skills Development Act, the transitional provisions relating to regulation of private employment agencies, Productivity SA and the supported employment enterprises, and a list of contraventions in respect of which fines may be imposed by the Labour Court.

Discussion
Mr M Jacobs (ANC, Free State) took issue with a statement made earlier by another Member that the Bill would be finalised after the presentation; he believed that this Committee must not merely rubber-stamp, but properly understand the implications. He questioned the intentions of the Bill, and how the entities outlined related to these intentions and to each other. He asked how the employment of youth might converge with the supported employment enterprises, to achieve the intention of skilling youth.

The Chairperson clarified, in answer to his first point, that the whole day had been allocated for finalising the Bill. On the following day, the Committee would consider another bill.

Mr Morotoba said the purpose of the Act was clearly defined in the Preamble of the Bill. He explained that the supported employment enterprises were not intended to train the youth, but were primarily to assist people with disabilities to earn a living and play a more active role in society, to the best of their abilities. The Department had tried to make it clear that the Employment Services Bill was trying to get people into employment. Other labour laws, such as the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, regulated minimum standards for every worker, whilst the Labour Relations Act regulated the relationship between employer and employee, and the Employment Equity Act sought to address demographics of employment.

Mr H Groenewald (DA, North West) shared Mr Jacobs’ concern that one day was too short for the Members to get clarity around each and every clause of the Bill, even after receiving a presentation from the Department.

Ms L Mabija (ANC, Limpopo) said that if Members were not happy about the time frame allowed, Members may need to return in the following week.

Mr Groenewald wanted more clarity around a number of clauses. In relation to clause 5, he believed the Bill should allow for alternative models to match work seekers with work opportunities. Commenting on clause 8, he felt that while it was important for all countries to protect local labour, companies should be able to bring in outside workers where there was a shortage of skills in the country, such as with welders at the Medupi power station. In relation to clause 10, he sought more clarity around the posts essential to achieve productivity, which also related to what he had said under clause 8. In relation to clause 12, he felt the money contributed by employers and employees to entities should not be used to fund ineffective or unnecessary government initiatives. Lastly, under clause 13, he felt the forced separation between the two sets of regulations was not necessary and restricted trying to match work seekers with job opportunities.
 
Mr Morotoba made it clear there were a number of conventions that governed the operation of the funds, and that they were not necessarily, despite their name, “insurance” entities. He noted that the Cape Town airport and most of the highways in Gauteng were built using money from these funds as part of the job creation process, and said money could not just be collected and placed in a bank without strategic investment. Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) funding specifically sought to invest in areas and projects that would create jobs – Gautrain was one example. The difficulty was always to ensure that companies would recruit people who would benefit directly and contribute to the funds.

Looking at clause 5 and the use of alternative models, Mr Morotoba said two models had been proposed and were extensively negotiated at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC). The ILO conventions, and other countries’ legislation, envisaged that there was a role for government to play in regulating private employment agencies. There was also a third model, where private employment agencies were entirely separate from government. All models and their advantages and disadvantages had been fully debated by the social partners at NEDLAC, resulting in the models set out in this clause.

Mr Morotoba noted that clause 10 did not actually require every employer to register vacancies, and in fact the Minister’s power to make regulations had been changed from “must” (in the initial draft) to “may”. Clause 10(1) said merely that the Minister may, after consulting the board, make regulations requiring employers to notify the Department of any vacancy or new positions in their establishment. This gave space also for the  necessary consultation before making regulations. 

Clause 12 dealt with the funding of private employment services. A comparative study commissioned on private employment services and the staff complement in other countries had shown them to be much higher than in South Africa. This clause was not saying that money must be taken from the entities to fund private employment services, but was saying that in cases where the funds were tied to employment creation, an agreement would be signed with the board of the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF). The Auditor-General would have to scrutinise all the processes to ensure the project running was in line with the UIF or Compensation Fund principles.

Mr Morotoba wanted to highlight the relationship between clause 13, and section 158 of the Labour Relations Act, in relation to the registration of private employment agencies. All the social partners had agreed that there had to be a framework outlining how labour brokers were to function. This clause ensured that these labour brokers must be registered and their compliance would be checked by inspectors. If they were not performing functions in line with their registration, they could be deregistered and they would cease to operate in that area.  

Mr M Sibande (ANC, Mpumalanga) said that the practicalities around  finalising this Bill should be considered. He too wanted to question clause 5, but asked how it would protect local workers and prevent South Africa becoming “a dumping ground” for job-seekers. He also wanted to know if the Bill would assist or protect seasonal workers brought in from outside the country from being used as cheap labour. Another issue coming to the fore was the fact that illegal miners were now considering themselves as “workers”, and he wondered what challenges this would pose, were they to be injured in an accident. He thought something was needed to protect South Africans from being recruited and used as mercenaries, pointing out that this had happened a few years back in Zimbabwe. He wondered if the Bill was protecting under-sea mining employees.

Mr Sibande found clause 13 confusing, and thought the law should be more clear around labour brokers, to prevent undermining and challenges. Lastly, he was worried about allegations of syndicates on the borders recruiting heavily pregnant women to give birth in South Africa, then preventing the women from going home. 

Mr Morotoba responded that the idea of Chapter 2, and in particular clause 5, was that the DoL should protect, provide free services to, and assist South African citizens, as they should be the first ones from whom to choose when there were positions vacant. It was intended to remove as many as possible obstacles or unreasonable requirements preventing their entry into employment. It was recognised that citizens who were working would contribute to the tax base, whereas if they were not, they not only drained the resources, but were more likely to become involved in criminal activities.

Mr Morotoba noted that questions of employment of foreign nationals had been raised also by Mr Groenewald and Ms Mabija. South Africa faced many problems around receiving migrant workers, particularly in Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces, because of the state of the borderlines. He assured the Committee that the DoL, working through the clusters, was looking at the management of health issues, management of crimes, drugs, illegal transportation of goods and other issues also. Clause 8 outlined that there was an obligation on an employer, before employing a foreign national, to ensure that this person had an applicable and valid work permit, issued under the Immigration Act. Currently, many employers were hiring illegal migrant workers who did not have the required papers. There was a problem with numerous people coming in as asylum seekers, because once they were granted asylum status, they would seek work. In future, not only would it be illegal to employ someone who did not have the permit, but an employer caught ding so would face fines also under the Immigration Act. It would not be enough for an employer to claim that there were not sufficient skills to be found amongst South Africans – as with Medupi -  but proof would be required that sufficient local searches had been done. At Medupi, some of the people brought in were given a ‘crash course’ of training, that was not equivalent to those of an apprenticed and experienced artisan, and the qualifications of the boiler-makers were not checked. It was also important to note that clause 8(4) said that even if a person did not have a work permit, s/he would be entitled to enforce a claim under “any statute or employment relationship” if the employer was liable. Deporting people was not addressing the problem; the employer should be fined.

Ms Mabija wanted to stress that she was not xenophobic, but the truth was that there was a high degree of unemployment in South Africa, especially amongst the youth, yet foreigners were being encouraged to take jobs that could be given to citizens, and she was not comfortable with this. She wondered why more was not being done to increase the skills of South Africans, up to the standard of those from outside, preventing people from turning to crime such as housebreaking or stealing.

Mr Morotoba responded that indeed the reality was that there were high levels of unemployment. Government did need to maximise the number of South Africans working on projects, and target them specifically as a first preference. Where foreigners were brought in, there was a need to be very strict about requiring proof that the employer had advertised and searched for these skills locally, before hiring a foreigner. Where foreign workers were used, there needed to be plans also put in place for transference of the foreign skills to South Africans.   

The Chairperson sought clarity on clauses 42 to 47. She asked what monitoring mechanisms would be in place to ensure everyone abided by this legislation once the Bill became law. She was concerned at the level of non-compliance with laws at the moment.

Mr Morotoba said the monitoring systems were supposed to be in place, and inspectors were being re-trained to enforce these sections of the Act. The Department was also working with Home Affairs officials, so they could understand how to work with the inspectors. It was obvious that the first year would not be easy, because the DoL did not have the resources it ideally wanted, but it had engaged with National Treasury and was hopeful that the necessary resources would be obtained.

He said that the idea behind clauses 42 to 47 was to try to address the problem of the legislative gap of how the factories were supposed to be managed. The functions under section 43(a) to (d) were negotiated with the Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities, DHET and various other organisations involved with disabilities, to limit these factories to a specific type of disability. He would welcome other suggestions from the Members as to training, and there had been discussion around getting accreditation. DoL was also in discussion with the Department of Military Veterans, to see whether anything could be done to assist current defence force personnel of 45 and older. It was also in discussion with the Department of Correctional Services, on how to put inmates to productive use and with the Department of Environmental Affairs, in relation to alien plants that could be used for manufacturing wooden furniture for sale to government offices. Discussions with the Department of Public Service and Administration had been held to sort of the details for a government component to operate.

Mr Jacobs felt that Mr Morotoba did not directly respond to his question. He was concerned about the skills of the youth, and wondered why they could not be trained in the factories, then move on.

The Chairperson added that the Committee had visited some of the current SEFs, and had noted that some of the people there had been around for a long time, and there was concern that the skills they had built up may not be passed on. In addition, the Committee had been told that the current factories would be expanded to other provinces, including Mpumalanga and Limpopo.

Mr Morotoba explained that if sheltered employment enterprises were to train non-disabled youths, they would need to be accredited with DHET, which was responsible for skills development and training from 2009. The sheltered employment enterprises were supposed to train and develop the skills of disabled people, and could not be opened up for all – Chapter 6 of the Bill was quite clear on this point. Training for non-disabled people was provided through the Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs).

Mr Jacobs was still not happy that the Bill did not address his concerns. He felt there were a lot of skills in the SEFs, which could be tapped by the youth, in order to assist them in getting jobs. The lack of skills led to lack of jobs, and if this was not being addressed then he was not sure what the intention was behind the Bill.

Ms Mabija asked if there was a possibility to flesh out the Bill to include the concerns of Members around this matter or if there was anything else that addressed the concerns.

Mr Groenewald added that when the Committee visited the SEFs there were a number of people not gainfully employed, because there was not enough funding to buy the equipment necessary to produce the furniture. Of further concern was the fact that most of the disabled people working there were also old.

The Chairperson suggested the Department could study the Committee’s report on the SEFs, and look at how DoL and DHET together could ensure that the sheltered employment enterprises would achieve more, then report back.

Prince M Zulu (IFP, Kwazulu-Natal) felt the Department was not taking care of the people in the country as anybody from outside could come in and hold good positions. (The remainder of his comments were made in Zulu).

Mr Morotoba understood the concerns of Members. The DoL had already consulted with the DHET and other departments on this Bill. He highlighted that clause 43(c) set out that the purpose of the sheltered employment enterprises was to “develop and implement programmes that promote the employability of persons with disabilities, including persons with permanent disablement as defined in the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act”. DHET had objected to the inclusion of a requirement for skills development, as that would have resulted in transferring the mandate for the enterprises. They were constantly providing employment for the elderly disabled people who had been at them for many years, but they would offer opportunities also to newly disabled or younger disabled people too. They needed to be included in the legislation. However, accreditation so that people could at least get certificates was important.

Ms Mabija thought most South Africans were swallowing a bitter pill and felt that the DoL had to find practical ways to solve several issues. She repeated that she was not xenophobic but it was hard to see South Africans unemployed, whilst foreigners were working, and there was a widening gap between employed and unemployed. She felt that too much attention was paid to the theory and not enough to the practicalities.

Mr Morotoba said that the Bill did speak to youth employment, in Chapter 2, where clause 6 spoke to the employment of youth and other vulnerable work seekers. The Minister was empowered to create schemes to address the plight of young people. The Department’s statistics showed that more than 35% of young people were unemployed, and the free services were aimed at the youth. The emphasis and intent of this Bill on youth employment was around referrals, career information and guidance, which needed to be distinguished from skills development functions.
 
Ms Mabija noted there were many foreign nationals with permits but these were forged and sold by syndicates. She asked if the DoL had any way to check the validity of permits, and if government was aware of this.

Mr Groenewald added that the truth was that with money, one could buy anything. He also highlighted the problem at the borders; Musina was now being called “little Zimbabwe” and locals were driven away further South, because a number of foreigners had put up their shops. Zimbabweans to whom he had spoken told him they came to South Africa because they felt free. In Brits, granite was mined, exported to China, and then imported back as finished product, at high cost and now more Chinese people were coming into Brits itself to open factories, and that was a major problem.

The Chairperson felt that Members of Parliament had a duty to bring such matters to the attention of departments.

Mr Groenewald replied that he had reported this to the provincial legislature a long time ago but nothing had come of his report, so this was the first time he was mentioning it here at the NCOP. He also noted that many asylum seekers were waiting to be sent back to their own countries, but a number simply turned around and re-entered, and he wanted to know if there were control measures to curb this. He reiterated the point that South Africans were deprived of jobs that were going to foreigners because there were no controls at the borders.

Mr Sibande appealed to the Chairperson that Members should focus only on the Bill.

The Chairperson said that she had purposely allowed Members to air the issues, and perhaps they could discuss some ways to deal with them when they went back to their constituencies. She thought the Bill had been explained thoroughly, and asked the Committee to proceed to clause-by-clause deliberations.

Clause by clause deliberations
The Chairperson read through the Employment Services Bill [B38-2012] as amended by the Portfolio Committee on Labour (National Assembly). She asked Members to indicate their agreement or disagreement on each clause as she read through them.

During the reading, Mr Jacobs asked the Department to tighten the wording of clause 35(9).

Mr Morotoba concurred with his observation, and confirmed the Department would change the wording to deal with the eventuality of death and appointment of a new CEO.  

The Committee also agreed with this amendment.

Mr Jacobs asked for similar changes also to be made under clause 45(3).

Mr Morotoba agreed that he would ensure this wording was also amended, in line with what had been done for clause 35(9).

The Committee also agreed with this amendment.

The ANC Members agreed with all clauses of the Bill, 1 through to 54 including the long title, transitional provisions, definitions, schedule of offences and memorandum.

Mr Groenewald pointed out that under the clause by clause analysis of the Amendment Bill, he was not in favour with clauses 5, 8, 10, 12 and 13.

The Chairperson asked the Member to provide and clarify his motivation of disagreement.

Ms Mabija then moved for adoption of the Bill, seconded by Mr Jacobs.

ANC Members voted in favour of the Bill, but Mr Groenewald recorded that the DA was opposed to the entire Employment Services Bill.

Ms Mabija questioned this point; she ha through that Mr Groenewald had indicated that he was in favour of a number of the clauses in the Bill.

Mr Jacobs thought Mr Groenewald could not disagree with the Bill as a whole because there were certain sections he did agree with during the deliberations.

Mr Groenewald explained that the DA was not in favour of 5 clauses, which meant he could not agree with the Bill as a whole. In principle, he was not opposed to the whole Bill, but his point was that if he did not agree with those clauses, he could not be in agreement with the whole Bill.

Mr R Tau (ANC, Northern Cape) joked and asked Mr Groenewald that if this meant he did not like someone’s legs, he would not like the whole person.

Mr Groenewald said he had made his point and he would abide by that.

The Chairperson said that the clauses agreed to and not agreed to had already been noted, and it was on record that there were clauses with which the DA agreed, but five on which it had wished to record its disagreement.

Mr Sibande confirmed that the Committee could proceed, because it had been recorded that the DA agreed with many clauses but that there was disagreement with five clauses. He did not see the need for debate when this had been recorded.

Ms Mabija thought the DA was confused.

Report of the Select Committee on Labour and Public Enterprises on the Employment Services Bill [B38-2012]
The Chairperson read out the draft Committee Report, which noted that the majority of the Committee had agreed to adopt the Bill with amendments, but and the disagreement of the DA would be noted.

The Chairperson thanked the Department for its efforts to empower the people of SA by developing these laws to take care of employment issues.

The meeting was adjourned.
 

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