by Thembi Chagonda

The 17th Annual Commission for Employment Equity (CEE) report was released yesterday, 9 May 2017. Compared to previous years’ reports, little progress has been made over the past 12 months.

Whilst there seems to be more companies aware of Employment Equity and that the reports submitted to the Department of Labour have more than doubled since the 1st Annual CEE Report, there is still a lot that needs to be done regarding transformation at the top, senior and middle management levels.

Top management (68.5%) and Senior Management (58.1%) continues to be dominated by White males, whilst Africans represent 14.4% and 22.1% respectively. It is worth noting that Middle management and Skilled Technical have been improving steadily and employment of Africans are at 41.5% and 60.2% respectively.
The decline in the number of people with disabilities across all levels of the employed workforce is a matter of concern.

Sector Stakeholder Engagements

The CEE conducted Sector Stakeholder engagements in 2016. The aim of these engagements was to identify barriers to transformation experienced by the Employers that results in the slow progress being made. Feedback from these engagements highlighted a lack of commitment by boards and executive leadership to implement transformation. A shortage of skills was also highlighted, as well as a preference of foreign nationals, who are easily exploited.

Recommendations to accelerate transformation

Recommendations from participants of the stakeholder engagements were to introduce sectoral targets and financial consequences by promulgating Section 53 of the EEA. If Section 53 is promulgated and Sectoral targets are introduced, it will make it more difficult for companies who are not compliant to do business with the State. In addition to this, it would be difficult for companies to obtain other certificates of compliance, inclduing SARS clearance certificates and BEE Certificates. These are the recommendations to the Minister by the CEE to ensure that EEA is accelerated and complied with. The Bill to introduce sectoral targets will be published soon and the process is uderway to undertake the promulgation of Section 53.