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For firms in South Africa, new BEE and transformation targets are ready.

Reference: Published by Staff Writer, 9 May 2023

https://businesstech.co.za/news/government/686445/new-bee-and-transformation-targets-for-businesses-in-south-africa-are-ready/

The new employment equity objectives for South African enterprises are prepared, according to the Department of Employment and Labour, but they won’t be made public until all legal challenges to the new legislation are resolved.

The minister has already approved the revised EE targets, the department said. After opponents of the new laws sued the government, the targets had to be delayed from publication.

Thembinkosi Mkalipi, the department’s director for collective bargaining, mentioned two pieces of legislation that President Cyril Ramaphosa just signed into law during a stakeholder engagement event on Tuesday, May 9:

  • The Employment Equity Act as amended;
  • The COID Act (Compensation for Occupational Diseases and Injuries)

Mkalipi claims that the EE Act gives the minister of labor the authority to establish demographic targets for firms with more than 50 employees as well as employment equity targets for various economic sectors.

Penalties, such as fines, may arise from breaking the law.

A Certificate of Compliance from the department is also required for businesses that want to do business with the government.

Employers must also submit employment equality plans and yearly updates on their progress toward the goals under the EE Act.

The department stated that the main goal of the revisions was to make doing business for small enterprises easier. For other entrenched interests, though, this has led to issues.

Business interest groups and opposition parties have reacted negatively to the new laws and have filed legal challenges.

We were also brought before the International Labor Organization (ILO) and provided them with feedback. A legal objection is eagerly awaited. Legal battles assist resolve ambiguous matters, according to Mkalipi.

The government stated, “We are still on track to publish the EE Act by 1 September 2023, and then we will start with a new reporting period.

Action in court

The labor organization Solidarity is one of the parties bringing legal action against the new laws.

The union claims that the new transformation laws are one-sided, unconstitutional, and lean toward racial discrimination by giving the minister of employment and labor the authority to define goals based on race.

The employment equity adjustments are still difficult in several legal aspects, according to Business Unity South Africa (BUSA), a civil society organization that represents business interests in South Africa, on April 14.

The CEO of BUSA, Cas Coovadia, stated that a significant problem involves calculating complaints and granting compliance certifications as a permit to conduct business with the state.

According to Coovadia, this would purely depend on whether a company has reached its goals and has not had an unfair discrimination complaint brought against it in the previous 12 months at the CCMA or Labour Court.

Coovadia voiced worry that using targets as quotas would be incompatible with the goal of the law.

He added that businesses shouldn’t be penalized twice for the same offense by the Department of Employment and Labour and the CCMA/Labour Court, since this might lead to pointless litigation and obstruct the effort to reform workplaces.