The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and the South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) have expressed support for the Employment Equity Amendment Act.
This after the Democratic Alliance (DA) lodged papers to challenge what it calls the ‘race quotas’ in the act.
In a tweet, the party said, “We deserve a government that prioritises economic growth and equal opportunities,” also referring to the act as a “catastrophe” of the African National Congress’ failed policies.
The law requires companies with more than 50 employees to submit equity plans reflecting the demographics of the region they operate in and how they intend to achieve them.
Cosatu’s Parliamentary Coordinator, Matthew Parks, elaborates.
“We support it and this is an amendment to an existing law that has been around since 1998 and the changes just seek to strengthen it and adjust it here and there. There is nowhere in the regulations that say anyone is going to lose their job. We should be saying maybe we can make a better effort for our companies to reflect the diversity of our population groups. Everybody should have a real opportunity for promotion.”
SAFTU’s General-Secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi, echoes Cosatu’s sentiments.
“We give it a broad support. The opposition to the bill is largely based on misinformation and lies. They are telling the so-called minorities that this bill is going to lead to them losing their jobs. There is no such thing in the bill. It will be illegal for any employer to remove an existing employment contract that he or she has with a worker in order to make space for another racial group in SA. That is a lie but that is what they are doing.”
Meanwhile, Employment and Labour Minister, Thulas Nxesi says his department is willing to engage with members of the public who are concerned about the act.
Nxesi explains the importance of the engagements. “If there are people who are worried, we are open for engagement. At this stage, we are engaged in a number of road shows and we are going to continue with the road shows, calling meetings with the people in those communities where there are serious concerns and explaining what this law is all about. We think that once we have done that, the people will understand where we are coming from.”