DA irons out equity

2013-11-24 14:00

The DA will outline a “new approach” to equity today, according to the party’s policy chief, Wilmot James.

James was tasked with reviewing policy after the party’s fortnight of confusion on employment equity and black economic empowerment.

James said the party had supported redress since the mid-1990s.

The DA is unlikely to change its stance on the employment equity and empowerment bills following its embarrassing climb-down after its caucus erroneously supported the Amendment Bill on Equal Employment in Parliament.

MPs in the national council of provinces voted against it on Friday.

At its historic first policy conference yesterday, the DA resolved to review its policy on economic inclusiveness every five years.

The policy will be adjusted, depending on the progress of affirmative action in the public and private sectors, until it is finally no longer needed.

The DA disagrees with the way the ANC differentiates between how blacks, coloureds and Indians qualify for affirmative action, which they feel is “inappropriate” and “unnecessary”.

The party now says the affirmative action policy should be reviewed every five years to determine whether it is still valid and effective, and to ensure it is not abused.

The party does not endorse racial quotas and there should be incentive proposals to promote diversity in the workplace.

However, as to whether race matters, a draft document submitted to the DA’s federal council said it did: “The apartheid government divided South Africans on the basis of race, and implemented policies and legislation that determined how people were educated, where they could live and work, where they could own property, and whether they could own and run businesses on the basis of the colour of their skin.”

City Press’ sister publication, Rapport, understands that the approximately 130 delegates at the Cape Town Civic Centre unanimously accepted the new policy after almost five hours of lively debate.

Before lunch there were still differences, but by 3.30pm these had been ironed out.

James compiled the new policy document on affirmative action and black economic empowerment, which the top leaders were still polishing on Friday.

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