Tag Archive | commission of employment equity

Rumblings in labour circles on BEE

The B-BBEE Amendment Bill hearings…..

What is emerging during the current BEE hearings held by the trade and industry portfolio committee on proposed amendments to the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) Act is that there is a vast difference between how the department of trade and industry (DTI) want to manage black empowerment and what the department of labour (DOL) think of the way things are going under their steerage.

It appears the one is far more radical than the other, as was evidenced by the agreement of DTI’s director general, Lionel October, to take some of the more implausible definitions contained in the B-BBEE Act to his minister to re-visit as far as wording was concerned.

Reality perhaps

Probably, with DTI dealing with business and industry and investment issues on a continual basis they see some of the traps well ahead that are causing South Africa to drop on the investments listings globally and thus are more pragmatic or perhaps even phlegmatic when it comes to running BEE, their daily business.

It is a voluntary, non-racial issue, they maintain; it is up to the individual company wishing to secure business with government to verify their make up and enter the scoreboard game if they want government business, although government does set down its BEE ambitions in legislation.

Criminalisation

At the moment nobody goes to jail or pays heavy fines unless they cheat.   Each industry has been encouraged to have its own special charter to suit its own special circumstances.

But clearly, the Commission of Employment Equity (CEE) do not like sectoral charters, a fact backed by their partners on this issue, the Black Business Council, the latter having expressed this fact a number of times. Both want them scrapped or “trumped” by B-BBEE, more rigidly enforced.

Sectoral charters are voluntary

Whilst Manufacturing Circle, who make sensible input at most hearings, made the point that the very number of sectoral charters sometimes leads to confusion in large conglomerates whose activities stretch over many industrial activities, they were just calling for clarity on some issues.

However, the input of CEE to scrap the voluntary charters and rely totally on legislation to bring about the aims of black empowerment as perceived by them is worrisome.

BEE remains mostly outside the law

The whole point and acceptability of BEE in the past as a principle is that in the light of the country’s history, it is acceptable, and the whole point to date has been that black empowerment has not been legislated for in totality.

DTI have always empahsised this. The nearest the country has got to the criminalization issue is those who wish to defeat the principles of BEE by trickery and by “fronting”, which is deception in any terms, will be dealt with severely according to the law.

Otherwise the law as such is not over skin colour but has been kept mainly on the lines of past disadvantage and the unfairness of what 90% of the community had to put up with for years.

CEE get into the Act

So who are the Commission of Employment Equity or CEE?

It is a commission which was established in terms of section 59 (1) of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) with members on the whole appointed by the minister of labour whose task it is to advise the minister on any matters relating to sectoral determinations. They are part of DOL and carry the department’s logo on their website.

Basic Conditions of Employment

CEE deals with any matter concerning basic conditions of employment; any matter arising out of the application of the BCEA and generally the effect of government policies on labour matters and conditions of employment in the public service – a massive mandate but specifically within their ambit of labour issues.

It says that BEE for all business and industry should not be voluntary, which seems stepping well outside of their mandate. So what does the minister of labour say, who appoints the CEE members?

Posted in BEE, Labour, Land,Agriculture, Mining, beneficiation, Public utilities, Trade & Industry0 Comments


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