Minister denies coloured jobs' report

2011-02-25 19:00
Johannesburg - Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant has dismissed reports that 1.3 million coloureds and Indians stand to lose their jobs if proposed amendments to the Employment Equity Act become law.

She said in a statement on Friday that the claims by the trade union Solidarity that 80% of coloureds would lose their jobs in the Western Cape, were "unfounded, misleading and "mischievous".

"We do not know the basis upon which they arrived at these figures," Oliphant said.

"If that is their view, employment equity as it stands says when implemented, regional and national demographics must be taken into account, has not caused job losses among whites.

"In fact, whites have been over-represented for over 12 years."

Oliphant said the only reason the proposal was placed "on the table" was because employers wanted clarity "on how to implement both regional and national demographics simultaneously".

Still only a proposal

"It is important that we once again clarify the current status of the law which states that employers must take into consideration 'demographic profile of the national and regional economically active population' while the proposed amendment takes away regional and national to provide the flexibility," she said.

"The consequence of the new proposed amendments is that employers will have flexibility to decide whether to use regional or national demographics."

Oliphant said unions should remember that "this is only a proposal and if there are "unintended consequences", these should be raised at National Economic Development and Labour Council

She said the statistics the department based its decision on came from Statistics South Africa.

Solidarity's deputy general secretary Dirk Hermann claims that the proposed amendments to the law could amount to "a massive and unfeasible social engineering programme" with nearly a million economically active coloured South Africans in the Western Cape having to earn a living in another province if the proposed amendments are signed into law.

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