Employment Equity: briefing

Arts and Culture

06 August 2003
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Meeting Summary

A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.

Meeting report

6 August, 2003

Chairperson: Ms M Njobe (ANC)

Documents handed out:

Employment Equity of the Department of Science and Technology

The Committee was briefed on how the Department of Science and Technology (DST) had implemented internal employment equity. The DST had met its targets and acknowledged that implementation had been fairly easy as the Department was new. The committee asked how this would positively impact on provinces and communities.

In her presentation, Ms Ngele, General Manager of Human Resources, said that employment equity was not only a legal requirement, but made good business sense. She strongly felt they needed to sensitise employees and managers around communication and the importance of diversity.
She also emphasised the importance of a post-transformation climate survey in order to identify and resolve outstanding employee concerns.
All department employees had to sign performance agreements and personal development plans, and received support in terms of training, counselling and from the Employee Assistance Programme. The presenter also highlighted an internship programme in the pipeline, designed for unemployed graduates who would be mentored for one year.

Mr M Cassiem (PJC) complimented the Department for having met its target. He asked about the sense of patriotism within the department and how much was being done to assist previously disadvantaged sectors of society.

Ms N Ngele (DST) responded that efforts put into the department would impact on communities but that it was a long process to change social outlooks. Internal 'imbizos' emphasised the importance of translating training to communities.

Ms H Mpaka (ANC) referred to Dr Peterson's concerns about the ageing and shrinking population and asked what plans the Department had to address these issues. She also noted the intake of coloureds was particularly low (at times non-existent) and that the disabled category was not represented.

Ms N Ngele responded that they were not facing the ageing issue because, as a relatively new department, they had young human capital. She explained that the zeros reflected that there were no positions, and that the DST was a knowledge-based department where positions predominantly started at level six. The current premises were not supportive of disabled persons, already making it difficult to accommodate existing disabled employees. She assured the Committee that in 2004 they would be moving to a new building with disabled-friendly facilities.

The Chairperson asked whether the Department had had any problems with placing disabled persons in the various target groups.

Ms Ngele admitted that at senior levels it was rare to find disabled persons applying for positions. She said they often applied for switchboard or clerical roles, and until there was movement in such positions, no additions could be made.

Prof I Mohamed (ANC) was distressed that disabled people should be further disadvantaged by unaccommodating public service buildings. He said that people sought lower level category jobs but could not get them, and in some cases these jobs had been discontinued because of restructuring. He also asked whether all employees were on pension funds.

Ms Ngele confirmed that all employees were on the pension scheme.

Mr S Opperman (DP) expressed fury at the racial classifications used. He asked how the DST had decided if applicants were 'coloured'.

Ms Ngele explained that categorising people in this manner was prescribed by the Act as a monitoring mechanism. She added that they used the usual Z83 forms that stated categories were used for employment equity purposes to monitor staff movements.

Mr Cassiem was concerned about whether people knew DST existed and whether it benefited people from areas such as KwaMashu, Mitchells Plain and Gugulethu. He felt that new departments without historical 'baggage' had the onus of going further to create a broader social 'ownership'. Ms Ngele agreed that as a new department they had not compromised on job competencies in order to meet targets. She felt that integrated thinking and post training analysis was required.

Mr Cassiem emphasised that employment equity and delivery should go hand in hand. He requested the Department to provide them with feedback on a regular six-monthly basis.

The Chairperson commended the Department's user-friendly support systems, and suggested that as a national competency, the Department ought to consider reaching provinces to make their presence felt.

The meeting was adjourned.



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