DA submits objections on PEPUDA Bill
30 June 2021
The DA has submitted our objections to the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act (PEPUDA) Amendment Bill to the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development. The Bill, which seeks to amend the PEPUDA, is steeped in hypocrisy, and the DA remains strongly opposed to it.
Upon further analysis, we have identified the following serious concerns with the Bill:
Expanded Definition of Equality
The DA is concerned that the expanded definition of equality will have unintended consequences, and place impermissible burdens upon all organisations and private citizens in South Africa. While the amendment may be well intended, the practicability will leave organizations and individuals regularly falling foul of this.
The introduction of vicarious liability will place an unreasonable burden on organisations and companies to police the actions of their employees lest they be held responsible. The exclusion of “intent” in the updated definition of equality would put companies at serious risk of liability, and the DA believes that this increased risk may also reduce companies' appetite to create new employment opportunities.
Obligations Placed on Private Institutions
Through clause 9, government is giving itself a backdoor mechanism to interfere with and regulate private organisations and their respective affairs by dictating how they promote equality from within and in the relationships they have with other bodies. The ability to prescribe different codes of obligation to different organizations allows government the opportunity to punish organisations which the State may find undesirable. The ANC government has proven time and again that it is not a bastion of morality and that any loophole to gain advantage will invariably be exploited.
General Responsibility to Promote Equality
The Bill seeks to amend the Section 24 general responsibility to achieve equality by the addition of a responsibility to “eliminate discrimination”. We trust that this was a drafting mistake, and that this clause is changed to state “unfair discrimination” instead.
The DA trusts that the Department will do its due diligence and take our objections into consideration. As the Bill reads now, it may have a significantly harmful effect upon employment and on the institutional autonomy of private entities, and place an onerous burden on employers and private citizens alike. The DA will fight this draft of the Bill to the bitter end.
Statement issued by Adv Glynnis Breytenbach MP, DA Shadow Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, 30 June 2021