NEWS & ANALYSIS

Defence BEE charter prejudicial to workers and job security– Solidarity

Movement says pincers of coercion applied to suppliers are non-compulsory and unlawful

Defence BEE charter prejudicial to workers and job security – Solidarity

1 December 2016

The trade union Solidarity this week made inputs into and commented on the proposed BEE charter for the defence industry.

This follows after Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa in May this year indicated that government was going to target BEE.  He even indicated that the economy had been in the hands of white people for too long. Furthermore, in September this year he said at a conference that CEOs of companies could be jailed if they do not pay attention to this matter. 

According to Johan Kruger, deputy chief executive of Solidarity, the pincers of coercion applied to suppliers in the industry are both non-compulsory and unlawful.  However, they are made compulsory if a business is to survive.  “In numerous instances suppliers are required to transfer or sell 51% of a business to black persons if they want to do business in the industry. This practice is nothing but unlawful expropriation and will negatively affect job security in the industry,” Kruger said. “Those who refuse to comply, are simply penalised by not being allowed to do business with the state. Numerous businesses that do not comply with this economic coercion will be ruined and workers will have to be retrenched.”

The inputs address the following three aspects, inter alia: Ownership and its impact on job security, the need to test the “once empowered, always empowered” principle in court, and the non-compliance of the charter with the prohibition on quotas in the Employment Equity Act.

In its comments, Solidarity also made it clear that it has no problem with black owners of businesses, appropriate black representation in senior and middle management, and skills development for black persons, but that it is opposed to the exclusive and apparently punishing and retaliatory nature of the proposed charter.

Issued by Johan Kruger, Deputy Chief Executive, Solidarity, 1 December 2016