COSATU welcomes Labour Minister's assurance
The Congress of South African Trade Unions welcomes the assurance by the Minister of Labour, Nelisiwe Mildred Oliphant, given to the Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers' Union, that section 42 of the Employment Equity Amendment Bill was not intended to negatively affect coloured or Indian workers.
This assurance confirms the federation's view that the ‘swart gevaar' scare raised by Solidarity and the Democratic Alliance - that a million coloured workers' jobs in the Western Cape and 300 000 Indians' jobs in KwaZulu-Natal could be given to African workers - had no basis in reality but was a mischievous and dangerous attempt to whip up fear and anger amongst the coloured and Indian communities in the run-up to local government elections.
COSATU backs SACTWU's call to the minister to ensure that her commitment "finds expression in the final version of the bill, prior to it being tabled in Parliament". The amendment to the law must be clear - that employment equity policies will reflect provincial and local demographic statistics and not just national figures.
COSATU reiterates its condemnation of statements by Jimmy Manyi, former Director-General of the Department of labour, now the government's spokesperson, that there was an "oversupply" of coloureds in the Western Cape, and that "Indians have bargained their way to the top", by getting 5.9% of management positions, when "they should be having only 3%".
Such racist comments are totally unacceptable and the federation will continue to insist that employment equity policies and laws redress past discrimination and do not unfairly disadvantage any population group.
Statement issued by Patrick Craven, COSATU national spokesperson, March 7 2011
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