Call for tougher employment equity fines

Tougher fines should be considered for failure to meet employment equity targets, Minister for Women Children and the Disabled Noluthando Mayende-Sibiya said on Wednesday.

Speaking at a University of the Western Cape graduation ceremony, she said it was unacceptable that, 15 years into democracy, the economy was still dominated by white men.

There was no indication that companies’ spending on skills development was being targeted at training women and black people into senior echelons.

“It is within this context that I firmly believe that much tighter legislative framework with stiff fines is required to drive both gender and racial transformation,” she said.

“Increasing the fine for failure to meet employment equity targets to 10% of companies’ turnover as recommended by the Employment Equity Commission should be seriously considered if we are to accelerate the pace of both gender and racial transformation.”

The fine is currently capped at R900 000.

Among the graduates at Wednesday’s ceremony were 207 women members of the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union, who the union supported in studying for a Higher Certificate in Economic Development.

Mayende-Sibiya said this showed it was possible to take practical steps to meet gender-equity targets.

Public and private institutions should stop making excuses that there were not enough women with capacity and skills to occupy leadership positions.

“If you cannot find them, train and groom them into those senior positions,” she said.

She also said her ministry was developing a legislative framework to drive South Africa’s process towards achieving the 50/50 gender equality target set by the African National Congress.—Sapa

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