President Ramaphosa, veto the Employment Equity Amendment Bill!
23 November 2021
President Ramaphosa is soon to receive the Employment Equity Amendment (EEA) Bill, approved by the National Assembly last week. While the Bill will pass to the National Council of Provinces for potential alterations, the President has a say, and can veto the Bill. Should Ramaphosa fail to exercise his veto, he will be allowing an unconstitutional derogation of basic rights.
The Bill derogates rights on two fundamental points. First, it allows the Minister of Employment and Labour, currently Thulas Nxesi, to effectively set race quotas in the private sector. Businesses that fail to meet those quotas can be fined R2.7 million, or 10% of annual turnover, whichever is greater. That would be a death warrant for affected businesses, condemning their workers to the unemployment queue.
Second, the Bill mandates the Minister of Labour to issue compliance certificates. Without compliance certificates, businesses would be barred from government contracts. Minister Nxesi himself poses this as a seizing by the state of “the force it needs”.
Besides these two points, the EEA will deter investment, both domestic and international, ultimately punishing the unemployed.