Tag Archive | women’s affairs

Gender Equality Bill goes out of the door

Minister cans idea of gender equality bill…..

susan shabanguMinister Susan Shabangu, minister in the Presidency Responsible for Women’s Affairs, says she will not be re-introducing to Parliament the Gender Equality Bill which lapsed at the end of the last term of Parliament and has remained unsigned by President Zuma since.

The controversial and totally impractical Women Empowerment and Gender Equality Bill, to give it it’s full name, has now been totally scrapped by Minister Shabangu and at recent parliamentary media briefing she announced that it will not be resuscitated in any form in the future.  

The legislation would have obliged companies to progressively achieve 50% representation for women in top levels of management, business and industry representatives quickly pointing out that this was both impractical and unenforceable.

President Zuma not signing

Originally tabled by former Minister of the old department of women, children and people with disabilities, Lulu Xingwana, the Bill was surprisingly hammered through Parliament with a hefty ANC majority in the last government despite being rejected by all social partners in Nedlac due to its “vagueness and ambiguity.   

In the meanwhile it has sat unsigned by President Zuma, new Minister Shabangu admitting to Parliament that it was tabled without sufficient consultation and would be re-introduced when more consultation had taken place.

The Bill stipulated that all public and also “designated bodies” nominated by the Minister at the time would have to submit plans for progressively achieving 50% representation for women in their decision-making structures.

Criminalising non-achievers

The proposed fines were stated as a maximum of 10% of annual turnover for continuous offenders, whilst the directors or CEOs of designated bodies could be liable on conviction to imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years.   The Bill, as it was worded, overrode other laws dealing with empowerment.

Now sense has prevailed.  In her parliamentary briefing, Minister Shabangu confirmed that the current Equality Act covered the same territory and her department was now going to establish whether this Act was “delivering on its promises” as far as women’s empowerment was concerned.

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