It is not often that Business and Labour agree in today’s times.
However, this was the case in respect of the Women Empowerment and Gender Equality Bill. This controversial bill- passed in time for the election, but still with Jacob Zuma for signing- required progressive achievement of 50% female representation at top levels of management.
Susan Shibangu has withdrawn the jewel in the crown of her predecessor, which was pushed through despite it being withdrawn by the social partners due to vagueness and ambiguity.
The Minister has called for sufficient consultation to occur.
The potentially unattainable target, linked with 10% of turnover fines and possible CEO imprisonment has stirred controversy, made even more alarming by Ms Shabangu’s predecessor’s apparent disregard for the social partners’ inputs.
The withdrawal of the WEGE Bill comes hot on the heels of the withdrawal of the Employment Equity Regulations.
It appears that there will be an inevitable post-election backtracking on a number of pieces of legislation. Only slightly surprising when one considers the number of Bills pushed through in the final weeks of the previous dispensation as well as the blatant disregard for particularly Business’ input.
By Grant Wilkinson – Executive