The EE Amendment Bill: The parliamentary debate

Transcript of the speeches by Minister Thulas Mxesi, DA MP Michael Cardo, and others


(Second Reading Debate)

The MINISTER OF EMPLOYMENT AND LABOUR (Thulas Nxesi): Hon Deputy Speaker, hon members, this Bill represents part of the continuing task to transform the labour market and society still marred by the historical legacy of colonialism, apartheid and patriarchy. In this regard, the adoption of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa 25 years ago marked a turning point by upholding the values of human dignity, equality, freedom and social justice.

One of the measures intended to implement this vision was the inception of the Employment Equity Act 23 years ago yet the pace of transformation in the labour market has been frustratingly slow. The latest employment equity statistics contained in the 21st Commission for Employment Equity Annual Report 2020-21 indicate that we have not addressed past imbalances to uplift the most vulnerable groups in our economy, that is African women and persons with disabilities.

For example, at top and senior management levels, Africans accounted only accounted for 15,8% and 24,7% of all positions respectively, whereas whites occupied 64,7% and 52,5% of all positions at both top and senior management levels. In relation to women representation, they only accounted for 24,9 % and 35,7% of all positions at top and senior management levels respectively. Of great concern is the representation of people living with disabilities remained at around 1% of the total workforce. It is evident from the data that self-regulation by the employers to achieve the objectives of this Act has simply not worked. They are becoming even more arrogant now, hence the urgent need to review the legislation and the regulations.

The primary objectives of the amendment are; to empower the Minister of Employment and Labour to regulate the sector employment equity targets after consultation with the sector stakeholders and on the advice of the Commission for Employment Equity.

In addition, the amendments are intended to promulgate section 53 of this Employment Equity Act. Section 53 deals with the issuing of the employment equity compliance certificate as the prerequisite for access to state contracts or to conduct business with any organ of the state. The state cannot continue to financially incentivise organisations that are anti-transformation and continue to resist complying with the laws of the country.

Further, the amendments are intended to reduce the regulatory burden on small employers employing between 0 to 49 employees. They will be exempted from complying with the employment equity administrative processes, however, the small employers will still be required to comply with the provisions of the Employment Equity Act dealing with the elimination of all forms of employment discrimination in their employment policies and practices as per chapter 2 of the Employment Equity Act before the compliance certificate is issued to them to conduct business with any organ of the state.

At an operational level, the department is ready to implement these amendments upon approval by Parliament and enactment by the President. We are at an advanced stage in relation to the sector stakeholder engagement for the setting up of the sector-specific employment equity targets. The IT development processes are also underway to enable the automation of the issuing of the employment equity compliance certificates for the convenience of the employers.

In conclusion, the Amendment Bill plays a critical role in transforming the labour market to allow everyone fair and equitable access regardless of race, gender or disability. I hope those who claim that they are for the workers are going to support this but let’s hear what they are going to say. Thank you, Chairperson.

Ms H O MKHALIPHI: Hey! Minister, don’t start with us.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon Hlengiwe, the Rules that were adopted in the House say you mustn’t do that in the first place. And you are in a leadership position, we plead with you. If it is about politics, wait your turn. Please!

Ms H O MKHALIPHI: Okay, Deputy Speaker, no problem. [Interjections.]


USEKELA SOMLOMO: Uyaqhubeka. Awuhlelekile yazi.


Ms M L DUNJWA: Deputy Speaker, again, in greeting everybody. But today, in particular, the workforce of this country, those that have been oppressed for a number of years, but who liberated themselves.

I’m standing here to confirm that the Bill was introduced to us on 21 July, briefed by the department on 20 October, advert was sent on 14 and 17 January, closing date was 20 February, extended to 5 March, public hearings were conducted, both written and oral, from 13, 14 and 15 April.

The Employment Equity Act was enacted in 1998 to give effect to a constitutional right, to equality. Section 9(1) of the Constitution say everyone is equal before the law and has the right to equal protection and benefit of the law. Section 9(4) make provision for legislative designed to prevent or prohibit unfair discrimination.

The purpose of this Bill is primarily to empower the Minister of Employment and Labour to identify sectoral numerical targets in order to ensure that equitable representation of sustainable qualified people from designated groups. Most of the amendments are consequential to this primary purpose.

Secondly, the Bill seeks to clarify conditions under which the Minister may issue Certificate of Compliance to Employment Equity Act to employers.

Hon Deputy Speaker and the House, we want to ... I think it is important that ... I did say ... I mentioned this but again this was quite a very difficult, if I may say, debate in the committee because some of the members felt that ‘what’s the point, we have voted in 1994, apartheid is gone and therefore, so what’ not realizing that, in fact, the status quo still remains. And I think the Minister had outlined that ... because I don’t want to repeat that.

In some sectors of the labour market majority are still white, males in particular. And unfortunately women, black women, coloureds and Indians are at the bottom.

It was in this debate that hon Bagraim asked us ‘what is the devil that you are talking about?’ and the devil is that there are some members in this House that are resisting transformation and we think as Members of Parliament we are not going to come here and speak as if ... because you are in this Parliament, which is democratic; at the workplace the labour force, workers are still oppressed and unfair labour practice in terms of race, colour and gender.

It is unfortunate that the people with disabilities are those that are in areas where they are poorly addressed.


... ndifuna ukuthi kubasebenzi nakwinkokheli zabo, singema apha siwamkele lo mmthetho kodwa ukuba bona kwiindawo zabo zokusebenza abaqiniseki ukuba bayabakhangela ...


... what is called the monitor, the implementation of this Act because it will be useless that we come here as Members of Parliament, we pass these legislations and these legislations are not ... there are no people who ensure that they guide them.

That is why I am then saying I want to make an emphasis, our members are going to come and debate, and put politics but for me as a former trade unionist I want to challenge all trade unionists, right across, that they must come together and unite because the struggle is still not over.

Workers of this country, you are on your own if you don’t ensure that the workplace is transformed, if you don’t ensure that employers skill you, if you don’t ensure that you are not treated according to the colour of your skin, your gender and your disability. And we are putting it here as the committee.

Yes, I want to thank you the members of the opposition who, some of them, were very compliant, some of them were progressive ... [Interjections.] ... I ... English is my second language ...[Interjections.] ... yes ... you’re not going to correct me here because if you start that it’s time that will be against me ... whom those that were supportive, those who understood the struggle with their differences because ours is not to fight as if it is what we want, it’s not about what we want, it’s about what ... in particular as the ANC and all the progressive trade unions who fought for the liberations of the workers of this country.

On behalf of the portfolio committee I’m putting this report for this House to adopt and thank the department for ensuring that transformation, which is a struggle, and I want to assure the opposition, in particular the DA, that we are not going to fold our arms as the ANC, supported obviously by the IFP, with all their challenges the EFF, but they have been supportive, of all these, the NFP, they’ve been supportive of the positions and the policies and the views of the ANC.

We are not going to be apologetic in ensuring that we transform our workforce because at the workplace apartheid still exist. I thank you. [Applause.]


Dr M J CARDO: Deputy Speaker, the Employment Equity Amendment Bill is a job destroying jackhammer, it is a blunt and brutal tool handed carelessly to the Minister of Employment and Labour so that he might wield the workforce into a shape the ruling party deems racially acceptable.

The ANC will have you believe this Bill is a weapon of transformation. In truth, it is a weapon of economic mass destruction. Its repercussions will reverberate for generations to come, unwelcome aftershocks to an economy already in upheaval.

There are two fatally flawed clauses in the Employment Equity Amendment Bill. Firstly, there is clause 4, which introduces section 15(a) into the Act. This section empowers the Minister of Employment and Labour to identify national economic sectors and to determine numerical employment equity targets for these sectors. The consultation requirements imposed on the Minister are vague and ill-defined. In this way, the ANC seeks to foist its narrow ideologically-driven goal of demographic representivity from the Minister above onto biddable employers below. This is the warped notion that the workforce should know exactly the racial and gender composition of economically active population.

This new provision confers upon the Minister a set of arbitrary and discretionary powers that are wholly incompatible with the drivers of a market-based economy. There is a simple word for rigid racial targets determined by the Minister, thrust upon employers after a thin veneer of consultation, and backed by punitive measures for noncompliance. In effect, they are quotas.

Secondly, there is section 53 of the Act, which now comes into operation as amended by clause 12 of the Bill. Henceforth, state contracts will only be awarded to employers who are in possession of a compliance certificate issued by the Minister. Of course, in order to obtain the certificate, an employer must have complied with any sectoral target set by the Minister in the first place. All of this is a recipe for malicious ministerial meddling.

Section 53 concentrates powers in the hands of the Minister which might be used capriciously to benefit selected companies in the allocation of state tenders. This is a textbook ANC manoeuvre. It allows them to manipulate outcomes by rigging tenders or funnelling contracts in the guise of righting past wrongs and redressing racial inequalities. Yet, after more than two decades of employment equity and black economic empowerment, BEE, legislation, we now know beyond any reasonable doubt that these legislative lynchpins of racial transformation are really a fig leaf for crony enrichment.

What is driving this racial mania? The ANC looks at the upper echelons of the private sector as opposed to the public sector and gasps in horror at their complexion. There are too many whites. Able-bodied coloured men are overrepresented here. African women with disabilities are underrepresented there. And the ANC comes to the conclusion that the government should shift workers around as if they were pawns on a chessboard. In fact, the ANC goes one step further. It seeks, through diktat, to conjure an entirely new chessboard into existence. That is not how societies or economies function.

If the ANC wants to level the playing fields, or broaden economic opportunity, let it increase the pool of available skills by putting in place a first-rate education system. Let it foster the conditions conducive to economic growth that allow for opportunities to flourish. But that is not how the ANC thinks.

The Employment Equity Amendment Bill is, to recall Tony Leon speaking on the original legislation is a “pernicious piece of social engineering,” pious in intention but destructive in effect. And, make no mistake, this Bill will sew economic destruction ... [Interjections.]

An HON MEMBER: Hon Deputy Speaker, on a point of order.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: What are you rising on, hon member?

An HON MEMBER: Is the member prepared to take a question?

Dr M J CARDO: I am not, Deputy Speaker. ... That is what happens in a command economy when a politician hauls out a racial abacus and declares how many beans should be in each row and what colour they should be.

As it is, our economy is mangled, damaged and deformed by decades of ANC policy incoherence, state capture and corruption. It has been disfigured further by COVID-19 and the stringent lockdowns. The numbers are well known. In 2020, economic activity slumped by 7%, the biggest fall since 1946. We are still trapped in the longest downward cycle since the Second World War. The economy hasn’t grown by more than 3% annually since 2012. Last year, there were over one million job losses. Our unemployment rate sits at 44,4% on the expanded definition. Almost 12 million people do not have a job.

Meanwhile, as I speak, a huge flight of skills and capital is underway. Desperate, anxious middle-class South Africans of all races are rushing for the boarding gates to put daylight and continents between themselves, their families and an ANC government bent on destruction. They can see which way the wind is blowing. They know that ANC policies like expropriation without compensation will bring economic ruin.

The Employment Equity Amendment Bill will hasten that destruction. It will deter investors. It will stunt growth, and it will kill jobs. Why should anyone want to invest in an economy, or create new jobs, when a politician gets to decide what the labour force looks like or how the labour market operates?

The ANC has rammed this Bill onto the Order Paper before we rise for the local government election campaign so that it can lay claim to some conveniently-timed victory for “our people”. It is a sham achievement for this Bill will do nothing for the poor, the marginalised, or the rural masses on whose behalf the ANC professes to speak. Its remedial measures, such as they are, do not target the disadvantaged. They do not advance the disadvantaged, and they do not promote the achievement of equality. As such, this Bill is – to put it lightly – constitutionally suspect. In truth, the Employment Equity Amendment Bill will help only a small, skilled and politically connected elite. It will widen the inequality gap between the small black elite that benefits from employment equity, EE, and broad-based black economic empowerment, BBBEE, and the 10 million black South Africans who are unemployed and unlikely to find a job because of laws like this one that disincentivice job creation.

Our delicate social fabric is frayed. Our economy – if not yet quite in smithereens – lies broken. And now, Deputy Speaker, we propose to give the Minister of Employment and Labour a job-destroying jackhammer. The DA opposes this Bill. [Applause.]


Nk C N MKHONTO: Nk C N MKHONTO: Ngiyabonga Sekela Somlomo, ngiyabingelela kuwe, ngiyabingelela namalungu wonke weNdlu, ngibingelele nambasebenzi baseNingizimu Afrika.


Deputy Speaker, for years, women, youth, persons living with disabilities and the black majority have been discriminated against by employers without any form of protection. The colonial and apartheid exploitation continues. They use of all kinds of criteria to set aside employment and promotional opportunities for minorities.

The Employment Equity Amendment Bill was designed to address colonial and apartheid exploitation that continues, especially discrimination of people and exclusion from meaningful participation in the economy.

What is shocking is that, even government departments, entities, state-owned enterprises, SOEs, and local government institutions have failed dismally to comply with some of the requirements of employment equity, particularly failure to employ people living with disabilities. To date, we still have sectors dominated by men and the higher echelons occupied by white males. Women and the youth dominate informal, seasonal and temporary design ... [Inaudible.] ... The patriarchal apartheid designed system continues to keep women at the lowest level of the career ladders.

Whilst the Employment Equity Amendment Bill promises redress and justice, particularly the employment of people living with disabilities, we know that the incompetent rigid ruling party cannot implement any transformational legislation. The Employment Equity Amendment Bill, if administered effectively and efficiently, can improve the social economic status of black people, youth, women and people living with disabilities.

We have all called for the employment of 2% and more of people living with disabilities. As much as this is what we all see as necessary, we know it will never happen.

The hopes of the marginalised workers and job seekers are on the Department of Employment and Labour. One department that continue to fail workers in all ways possible. This is the same department that has failed to enforce the National Minimum Wage, has a shortage of labour inspectors and a few employed are incompetent, let alone making meaningful enforcement of employment equity legislation.

We hope this Amendment Bill revitalise work commitment, work ethics of labour inspectors, and will power to change workers’ conditions including in government, state-owned entities, and the private sector ... [Interjections.] ... This needs enforcement officers that understands the political and historical background, the effects of income inequality, and the dire need for economic empowerment of the black majority.

However, the only meaningful and sustainable way South Africa will achieve employment equity is when there is economic freedom and equal redistribution of land and the nationalisation of strategic sectors of the economy, when there is state capacity to build and enforce legislation. We will achieve meaningful employment equity by creating the ... [Inaudible.] ...

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon members, we requested you to pay attention to what is in front of you and make sure you switch them off. Otherwise, you are deliberately sabotaging the sitting, and that’s bad news. Please, proceed, hon member. Are you done?

Ms C N MKHONTO: No, I am not done, Deputy Speaker. I was muted. Thank you. ... We thank the chairperson of the committee for she was able to rise above the political and socioeconomic diverse backgrounds of the public that make submissions and the members of the committee.

To the Minister, the EFF does not only pay lip service. You are welcome to visit our labour desk at headquarters and you’ll see that as the EFF, we are for the workers for real and we practice what we preach. Deputy Speaker, the EFF supports the Employment Equity Amendment Bill. Thank you. [Applause.]

Mr S L NGCOBO: Hon Deputy Speaker, the Employment Equity Amendment Bill represents this Parliament’s commitment to ensuring the continuation of employment equity in South Africa. The IFP shares the view that the struggle is still on, where this is concerned. There is still a long way to go.

The Amendment Bill represents our decisive and collective effort for the identification of sectoral numerical targets in order to ensure the equitable representation of suitable qualified people from designated groups. Of course, the Bill deals with other interrelated issues, which are important for advancing employment equity in South Africa.

It is saddening that, although every attempt has been made to accommodate all views and to hear everyone, there is a minority that is of the opinion that this Bill is socially engineering and they will therefore not support it. This attitude is contrary to the spirit of transformation that defines the postapartheid South Africa.

We will recall that the apartheid government was socially engineering this country, using state powers and all legislation. We cannot stoop to the level of the apartheid state, and we have a collective obligation to correct its injustices.

One of those ways is to promote equity through legislation. The process respects the rule of law and we should support it. There is no hope for fully and truly transforming South Africa, if we do not use legislation to bring about employment equity.

Although this Parliament adopted employment equity, we have come to the conclusion that the Act does not fully deliver on the promises of transformation in employment, as we had hoped it would. The employment Equity Amendment Bill is an acknowledgement of the deficiencies of the Employment Equity Act. It is an expression of the majority’s desire to correct that which is not right in the main Act, that which needs to be revised and improved.

As such, we all need to really rally behind this Amendment Bill. It will never be emphasised enough that it is important to identify sectoral numerical targets, in order to ensure the equitable representation of suitable qualified people from designated groups.

If this Parliament is elected based on proportional representation, which ensures equitability, then there is no reason and logic why we cannot put the same equity in the employment sector. It will be a dereliction of our duty as Members of Parliament, if we do not use the powers given to this institution to enact, amend and repeal laws, in our attempt to develop the South African society.

We can only build a truly just society that is peaceful in harmony, if we support the transformation agenda. This transformation agenda requires equity. It requires a proper representation of all groups in all political, economic and social sectors of society, including employment. It cannot be delayed because it is bringing equity in the workplace through this Amendment Bill.

The IFP supports the adoption of this Bill. I thank you. [Applause].



Ms H DENNER: House Chair, during a presidential job summit held in October 2018, resolutions were taken that have led to the creation of 275 000 job opportunity per year. It is evident that that has not happened, because we currently have the highest expanded unemployment rate to date of 44,4% and we cannot blame the covid-19 pandemic because the unemployment rate has been rising long before the pandemic and it will continue to do so long after it is over. Why? Because like a fool, the ANC makes the same mistakes over and over again, each time expecting different results.

Yesterday, during the question session, the Minister of Employment and Labour stated that government is refusing to drop their current plan for another plan. That is called being unresponsive, hon Minister, because clearly, the current plan is not working and the product is an unemployment of nearly 45% and an absorption rate of less than 40%, which globally compares to failed states and countries that deny women working opportunities. It is loosely translated into abject failure.

I have said it many times in this House and I will continue to say it: The private sector is the biggest and most important employment creator in the country. We need the private sector to contribute to the economy and employment creation. Private-sector employers need to be supported and empowered so that they in turn can support and empower their employees.

It is not an us-versus-them scenario, hon ANC colleagues on the Portfolio Committee on Labour; it is a scenario of, if the one fails, the other one will fail as well. The one cannot exist without the other.


En tog word die privaatsektor as die sonnebok vir ieder en elke mislukking in die arbeidsmark voorgehou. Is dit die privaatsektor se skuld as die regerende party kort voor ’n verkiesing agterkom dat hy nie in sy beloofde transformasie doelwitte geslaag het nie? Dit is die privaatsektor wat aan bande gelê word deur striewende en beperkende arbeidswetgewing soos hierdie Wysigingswetsontwerp, wat weereens dieselfde uitslag tot gevolg sal hê, naamlik ’n stygende werkloosheidskoers, ekonomiese agteruitgang en armoede.


Hon House Chair, hon House Chair!


Yes, hon member. I can hear you.

Ms H DENNER: Hon House Chair, there is interference from the House or on the virtual platform. Someone is speaking over me. May I please be allowed to continue my speech?

The HOUSE CHARIPERSON (Mr C T FROLICK): Hon member, I do not hear any interference ... [Interjections.]


Me H O MKHALIPI: Praat, madam, praat.

The HOUSE CHARIPERSON (Mr C T FROLICK): No, hon Mkhalipi, there you now do what the hon member has just talked about. [Interjections.]

Ms H DENNER: I see the NA is muted here.

The HOUSE CHARIPERSON (Mr C T FROLICK): Order, hon members. You are quite audible if you are on the virtual platform. We can hear you. [Interjections.]

The HOUSE CHARIPERSON (Mr C T FROLICK): Hon Mkhalipi and the other hon members, please. [Interjections.]


Me H DENNER: Ek kan nie praat nie. Niemand luister nie. [Tussenwerpsels.]


I am not sure where I was interrupted, so I will just repeat this again.


En tog word die privaatsektor as die sonnebok vir ieder en elke mislukking in die arbeidsmark voorgehou. Is dit die privaatsektor se skuld as die regerende party kort voor ’n verkiesing agterkom dat hy nie in sy beloofde transformasie doelwitte geslaag het nie? Dit is die privaatsektor wat aan bande gelê word deur striewende en beperkende arbeidswetgewing soos hierdie Wysigingswetsontwerp, wat weereens dieselfde uitslag tot gevolg sal hê, naamlik ’n stygende werkloosheidskoers, ekonomiese agteruitgang en armoede.


Overregulation of the labour market is a stumbling block to employment recreation. Legislation like the National Minimum Wage Bill, arbitrary extension of collective bargaining agreements to nonmembers and employment equity legislation like this Amendment Bill are counterproductive constraints to economic growth and job creation.

Sections of the Bill that enable the Minister to determine sectoral numerical targets is another example of gross overregulation and interference by government. These policies, together with other failed government sectors, like our education system will continue to exclude the majority of South Africans from the labour market.

We need to fix our education system so that people have the required skills to be appointed in certain positions and deregulate the labour market, so that those positions can be created.


Die Departement van Arbeid se mandaat is onlangs uitgebrei om werkskepping ook in te sluit. Die departement werk egter sy eie mandaat teen deur wetgewing voor te stel en af te dwing wat juis die teenoorgestelde effek sal hê. Die doelwit behoort eerder werkskepping deur middel van volgehoue ekonomiese groei en ’n verbeterde onderwysstelsel te wees.

Slegs as so veel as moontlik werksgeleenthede geskep word en voornemende werkers aanstelbaar is met die nodige onderrig en kwalifikasies sal mense wat voorheen in die arbeidsmark uitgesluit is ook geabsorbeer kan word.

Tykengedrewe wetgewing soos hierdie is soos ’n pleister op ’n gapende kopwond. Dit sal nie die probleem aanspreek nie, maar dit bloot vererger.


The FF Plus does not support this Bill. Thank you.

Mr M J WOLMARANS: Thank you, House Chair, hon members, stakeholders and our communities at large. Hon members, when the National Assembly passes legislation, review legislation, repealing legislation and amending legislation like in this case today, what we are really doing is to put content into the freedom, is to put content into our hard-won democracy. Through this Employment Equity Amendment Bill, we want people in the workplace to experience the content associated with their freedom and their democracy.

Now, here’s the problem statement, hon members, as recently as two months ago the hon Minister of Labour decried the slow pace of transformation in the workplace. With regard to employment equity and according to the Commission for Employment Equity, the CEE, it will take at least another 50 years to realise transformation at the current rate and at the current pace of employment equity implementation. 27 years into our democracy, women and people living with disability, the most vulnerable, have experienced very little or no progress at all in the workplace. 

From the hon Cardo from the DA, they would like to really see this status quo remain unchanged. Present conditions or circumstances compel us today to look at amending the Employment Equity Act as promulgated in 1998. Ordinarily, we would in good faith have opted as we did before and we currently do for self-regulation by the sector, but the reality is sadly the desired objectives have not been met nor achieved. 

Hon members of the FF Plus, just like the DA, would really like the same situation and the status quo also to be entrenched. A number of issues have been exaggerated and blown out of proportions, for example, in some sectors including some in the House, where through this amendment the Minister is given carte blanche cowboy-style dictatorship within the sector especially on targets. 

They did not read properly section 15(a), which reads; the Minister after consultation with the relevant sectors and with the advice of the Commission for Employment Equity for the purpose of ensuring that equitable representation of suitably qualified people from designated groups and at all occupation levels in the workplace. I noticed in the Gazette, will set numerical targets for any National economic sector identified in terms of the section. Now, we must underscore after consultation, we must also underscore suitably qualified from designated groups.

Hon members must not make any mistake. There are many suitable qualified people from designated groups. They lament their daily experience of being overlooked and discriminated against. Again, in terms of section 15(a)(4), a notice will be issued in terms of subsection (3). There are different numerical targets for different levels, subsections or regions within a sector on a basis of any other relevant factor. Therefore, it is not a one-size-fits-all application at all.

Let us remind ourselves and reiterate the primary objectives of this Amendment Bill, which is to provide the Minister of Labour with the power to regulate employment equity through specific employment equity numerical targets for designated groups and to reduce regulatory burden on small employers ... [Interjections.] ... for compliance in terms of the promulgated section 53 of the Act. All this will happen in consultation with sector stakeholders and on the advice of the Commission for Employment Equity. 

The African National Congress supports the amendments contained in this Bill. We also welcome the progressive contribution especially from our friends, the EFF, in supporting the amendments to the Bill. Thank you, House Chair. 


Ms A S ZUMA: House Chairperson and hon members ...


... ngithi angiqale ngokusho ukuthi lo mcimbi esikuwo namhlanje unzima kakhulu, ugcogcomisa ozakwethu, bakhuluma ngezindaba ezingabadingi, bakhohlwe ukukhuluma ngezindaba ezithi, ubaba wami uMdlalose waye nepulazi, lashonaphi? Ubaba wami uMdlalose waye nezinkomo zashonaphi? Bakhuluma ngezindaba zabasebenzi. Sisebenza ezindaweni zasemakhaya, ekuhlaleli la sikhona, Sihlalo Wendlu, sithola ukuthi umuntu uthi ngiyasebenza epulazini elithile ngihola u-R2,50 ngelanga, yilezo izindaba ekufanele ngabe bayazikhuluma.

Kufanele ngabe bayakhuluma ukuthi lama-KFC abawafaka ezindlini zabantu umangabe siya okhethweni yimaphi? Lama-SMS imaphi? Ngiyabonga, Sihlalo Wendlu.


One of the mandates that the ANC is constantly given by voters is that we should ensure that there is an equal South Africa in all respects. When South Africans — in their larger numbers than any other party in Parliament — continue to send us to Parliament, they put their trust in us to change the status quo. They tell us that Parliament is a site of struggle, and this assertion that Parliament is a site of struggle gets amplified by the kind of debates that we have in this august House.

As I listened, particularly to the two parties, the DA and FF Plus, I said to myself, oh gosh, there they go again with their firm antitransformation stance. Once again, they screamed at us to accept the status quo.


Njengoba nibezwa nje.


Voters said that we must refuse to accept the status quo. As the ANC, that is our mandate.

When we were deliberating on the Employment Equity Amendment Bill in the committee, and in listening to the DA and FF Plus, it was clear to me that these two parties have a serious problem with the amendments that we were making and the entire Employment Equity Act. You can hear them now as I’m ... Now! They are not fighting this Bill. They are fighting to get the entire Employment Equity Act done away with.


’n AGB LID: Presies!


Ms A S ZUMA: They are opposed to the Employment Equity Act because the word transformation was banned in the DA, while in the FF Plus it never existed. [Applause.] In actual fact, both the DA and FF Plus appear to have been shocked to learn that there was an Employment Equity Act which is designed to bring about fairness and justice in the workplace. There are two former DA leaders who were shown the door as they were trying to unban the word, transformation. [Laughter.]


Ngisho njalo. [Ihlombe.]


When the young politicians were maturing and gaining knowledge, they began to see the real picture of South Africa outside university books, and said to the DA, perhaps we should have transformation content in our policies, and not only that, we should support pieces of legislation that have transformation as an objective to be achieved. That, hon Chairperson and hon members, led to them being mercilessly kicked out of the DA.

Today, Ms Mazibuko and ... Maimane are no longer members of Parliament and they are also out of the DA because they started to realise that the imbalances of the past do not need to be addressed.

Hon Cardo and hon Bagraim are members of the DA in this Parliament and so they will remain because they are opposed to equity in the workplace. In the committee, when they opposed all issues that speak to justice and fairness, they were always referred to the principle Act. That is what you are opposing ... which you think is in the Bill. It is actually not here in these amendments. It is in the Employment Equity Act, No 55 of 1998. They are doing the very same thing today.

What are we on about here? It is nothing else but fairness, justice and equity. Equity literally means the quality of being fair. And, it is very sad that there can be parties that can oppose that in 2021. These parties should be ashamed of themselves for opposing ... [Inaudible.]

Employers must be developed ... [Inaudible.] ... to identify and eliminate employment barriers, including unfair discrimination ... yay! ... which adversely affect people from designated groups ... states ... section 15, Mazzone. That section also states that ... [Inaudible.] [Interjections.]

The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Point of order, House Chair.

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Order hon member. Hon Zuma, will you take your seat please? Why are you rising, hon member?

The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Hon House Chair, I was referred to as Mazzone. I thought I made it perfectly clear yesterday that you can call me Tashie or hon Tashie, but hon or Mrs ... who you will.

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): No, no, I won’t allow you to be called Tasha either. You will be called the hon Natasha or the hon Mazzone. Let’s leave this thing of Tasha now.

Ms A S ZUMA: Okay thanks, House Chair. Hon Natasha. That section also states that the work ... [Inaudible.] ... must be designed and implemented to further diverse ... based on equality, dignity and respect of all people, Natasha.


Kusho wena.




Nk A S ZUMA: Uyena oshilo. [Ubuwelewele.]


The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Hon Zuma. Yes, hon member?

The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: The hon Zuma needs to realise that I will continue calling points of order until she calls me hon Natasha or Mrs Natasha.

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Yes, please. Thank you. Thank you. Please refer to the hon member as hon.

An HON MEMBER: You are wasting our time!

Ms A S ZUMA: House Chair, sorry?

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): I said refer to the hon member as hon.

Ms A S ZUMA: Okay. Reasonable accommodation for people from designated groups must be created at the workplace to ensure that they enjoy equal opportunities and are equitably represented. This is what is opposed by parties such as the DA and FF Plus. They are antitransformation parties that fight tooth and nail for the status quo to remain, even going as far as opposing what is entrenched in the supreme law of the country — the Constitution.

Equality is a fundamental human right and a matter of global and public concern. The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa entrenches the need to eradicate social and economic inequalities, particularly those that stem from our history of colonialism, apartheid and patriarchy, which brought pain and suffering to the great majority of South African citizens, in particular black people. Eish!

Despite the fact that the Bill of Rights, in section 9 of the Constitution, provides that everyone is equal before the law and that equality includes the full equal enjoyment of all rights of freedom, discriminatory practices are still rife in the workplace, and may I add, generally in South African society. The resistance of employment equity in the labour market is felt by those who are in workplaces; those who come in to claim their place in the world of work.

The employers, represented by management ... covered ... fight the implementation of employment equity while paying lip service to the need for transformation. The slow pace of transformation in the labour market shows that there is an average of one percentage point per annum in the movement from the white population to the black population at strategic decision-making levels of organisations.

The Minister emphasises the point that, indeed, self-regulation is failing the transformation agenda in the labour market. Therefore, in order to turn the tide and expand it, the pace of economic transformation during our lifetime ... This Employment Equity Bill we are debating today should be seen as a well thought, carefully considered intervention by lawmakers to accelerate transformation in the labour market. We cannot continue to ignore the fact that there is growing unease with the state of transformation in South Africa from employees themselves and the general public as a whole. South Africans are losing patience with the slow pace of economic transformation, and when that patience is completely depleted, consequences will be dire and all of us will not afford ...

Legislation demands transformation but it is powerless in changing the subtle power dynamics around these matters, especially if legislation, like the Employment Equity Act, is premised on the basis of self-regulation. Today, we are changing that. Therefore, unless employers buy into the spirit of the law, economic transformation of the labour market will take more than a lifetime to be realised by the greater majority of our people. As this House, let’s pass this Employment Equity Amendment Bill to ensure that as a legislature we become a mouthpiece of our people who mandated us to represent them with honesty and protect their constitutional rights to equality. Through the passing of these amendments, we would have contributed positively, building a conducive environment where all the people, irrespective of their race, colour, gender, sexual orientation or disability, to mention a few, are able to fully share in the wealth and fruits of our democracy, to create a better life for all, hon Mazzone. I thank you. [Laughter.] [Applause.]

The MINISTER OF EMPLOYMENT AND LABOUR: Chairperson, thank you to the members who have supported the Bill and I’ve listened carefully to those who do not support. Self-regulation has not worked. There is a need for decisive intervention by the state to leverage transformation of the labour market. Only those who wish to entrench the inequalities of the past and profit off the backs of vulnerable groups of workers, are opposing this Bill.

For those who wish to move forward with the goal of a fair and equitable market, we will always urge you to support all our actions, especially with regard to this Bill.

I’ve heard a lot coming from hon Cardo and from hon Denner. By the way, studies by international bodies like the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD, the World Bank and the International Labour Organisation, ILO, agree that South Africa’s labour market is not particularly rigid. Calls for the deregulation of the labour market are not new. They were there when we started with the Labour Relations Act. The notion that South Africa or the South African labour market is overly rigid is a perception largely felt by the right-wing opposition parties and sections of capital. This comes from employers who never got over their loss of control in 1994, and the implementation of a Constitution and legislation which guaranteed human and labour rights.

In relation to the Employment Equity Amendment Bill, we cannot continue with the apartheid legacy of discrimination against blacks, women and people with disabilities in the labour market. Transformation is fundamental in our Constitution. Gone are those days.

In relation to the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Amendment Bill, I must also emphasise — because they go together — that the provision of the basic social security safety net for workers is a basic right which will continue to be rolled out to ... [Inaudible.] ... groups of vulnerable workers. I thank you, Chairperson.

Debate concluded.

Question put: That the Bill be read a second time.

Division demanded.

The House divided.

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Hon members in the Chamber, will you take up your allocated seats? Please take up your allocated seats, hon members. Hon Mashego, will you take up your allocated seat, please? Thank you.

Hon members, the Speaker has determined that, in accordance with the Rules, a manual voting procedure will be used for this division. Firstly, in order to establish a quorum, I will request the Table to confirm that we have the requisite number of members physically present in the Chamber and on the virtual platform to take this decision. Party Whips will then be given an opportunity to confirm the number of their members present and indicate if they vote for or against the question. A member who wishes to abstain or vote against the party vote may do so by informing the Chair. We will now firstly establish the quorum.

Hon members, I have been informed by the Table Staff, having checked the number of members in the Chamber and those on the virtual platform, that we do not have a quorum. We only have 188 members present and therefore we cannot proceed to take a decision on this division that has been called. The vote and decision will be deferred. Hon member?

The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Hon House Chairperson, I just want to put this on record. There are those parties that supported the Bill. They did it on the platform for the sake of electioneering, and they decided to log out so that we don’t pass this Bill which will transform the situation of workers. So, it’s quite embarrassing because we had the EFF. We have the ANC which has 168 members plus the number from the EFF and other parties, and the DA had also ... [Inaudible.] I’m still on the platform! I’m still on the platform! [Interjections.]

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Order, hon members. Just calm down. Calm down.

The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: The DA and EFF supported ... [Interjections.] ... but they logged out. So, these parties are hypocrites!

An HON MEMBER: Hypocrites!

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Thank you, hon member. Thank you, hon member.

The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: On a point of order.

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Yes, what’s the point of order, hon member?

The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: House Chairperson, thank you very much. It is imperative for Whips to know the Rules of the House and it is certainly not the responsibility of anyone but the governing party to maintain the quorum in the House. If the Whips of the governing party can’t do so, then I suggest they look to themselves and ask why they cannot pass a piece of legislation. However, while I’m on my feet, allow me to say categorically and for the record that the DA opposes this piece of legislation.

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Thank you, hon members from the ANC and the DA. The question is deferred, so there’s nothing to debate and discuss any further.

Ms H O MKHALIPHI: Chairperson? Chair, I’ve also called a point of order. I thought you were going to recognise me.

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): I’ve recognised you now, hon member. What is your point of order?

Ms H O MKHALIPHI: Thanks, Chair of Chairs. I just want to put it clearly on record that we as the EFF support this Bill and what the Deputy Chief Whip of the ANC is saying is not true. So, she must go back to her drawing board. We are supporting this Bill because we want our workers to have better conditions where they work. However, coming here and claiming that the EFF has logged out from the platform is not really true. She must not talk like that because we are not going to tolerate what she’s doing now.

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Thank you, hon members. Hon members, let’s continue to the Sixth Order. The secretary will read the Sixth Order.

Source: Hansard.