Use of National Demographics for Affirmative Action

The Constitutional Court today ruled in favour of Solidarity in their case against the Department of Correctional Services. The Department had denied a number of Solidarity members’ promotions due to the application of the national racial demographics as part of their affirmative action policies.

Solidarity argued that the Department did not look at regional demographics when promoting people, but followed national demographics only. As certain provinces have a higher representation of certain race groups (Indians in KwaZulu Natal and Coloureds in the Western Cape), this led to unfair discrimination which is contrary to section 9 of the Constitution.

Justice Nkabinde said, “The decisions of the Department of Correctional Services not to appoint the individual applicants to the posts… constituted unfair discrimination and unfair labour practices and are set aside.

What impact does this have on Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE)?
The new codes of good practice were issued in October 2013, and amended in May 2015. They require the application of demographics when determining BEE scores for Senior, Middle and Junior Management under the management control element and when determining points scored for a number of sub-elements under Skills Development.

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