Absent MPs delay law that will set new targets for employment equity

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The National Assembly failed to reach a quorum as not enough members attended the vote to pass the long-awaited bill last week.
The National Assembly failed to reach a quorum as not enough members attended the vote to pass the long-awaited bill last week.
Ashraf Hendricks/GroundUp

Parliament says it will make an effort to ensure that the Employment Equity Amendment Bill is passed as soon as possible, following a delay that could set it back by six months.

This comes after the National Assembly failed to reach a quorum as not enough members attended the vote to pass the long-awaited bill last week. The amendment bill will empower the minister of labour to set employment equity targets for different economic sectors in South Africa and employment levels in workplaces.

It will also bring stricter penalties to be imposed on noncompliant employees and that the employees provide a statement confirming that they are paying people as per the Minimum Wage Act.

Parliament’s spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said the delay is "regretted".

"However, all efforts would be made to ensure that the House passes this bill at its earliest opportunity after the current constituency period," Mothapo said.

Cosatu) said it condemned what it described as a the National Assembly’s "pathetic failure" to pass the bill. The federation then suggested that Parliament applies a policy of "no work, no pay" for members who don’t attend National Assembly sittings.

But Mothapo said attendance is the function of party whips and he hoped that they will deal with the problem.

Cosatu's parliamentary coordinator Matthew Parks raised the concern that it could take six months for the bill to get to the National Assembly again, given that Parliament is adjourned until the beginning of November due to the local government elections.

"And that delays the National Council of Provinces, which had already set aside dates to process the bill," he said. 

Parliament will then close at the end of November until mid-February 2022, but a lot of focus will shift to the finance minister’s speech. And as a result the delay could stretch into six months, said Parks.

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