Research charging that coloureds in the Western Cape and Indians in KwaZulu-Natal stood to lose thousands of jobs was rejected by the African National Congress (ANC) on Tuesday.
“The so-called research conducted by the trade union Solidarity, which claims that over a million jobs currently held by coloureds in the Western Cape and 300 000 jobs held by Indians would be given to Africans as a result of the Employment Equity Bill, is a dangerous political game,” said ANC Chief Whip Mathole Motshekga in a statement.
“The Employment Equity Bill seeks to increase the participation of the historically marginalised communities, which includes Africans, Coloureds and Indians, in the country’s mainstream economy.”
Trade union Solidarity’s deputy general secretary Dirk Hermann claimed on Sunday that the amendments to the bill 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 were signed into law.
Hermann said in terms of the amendment, the act would no longer recognise the economically active population (EAP) of a region, but only the national demographics of the economically active population.
According to the Western Cape’s current demographics, approximately 29,1% of the EAP is black, 54,8% coloured, 0,5% Indian and 15,6% white.
The Democratic Alliance said the amendments were “unconstitutional” and that it was “unfortunate” that the effect of the ANC’s proposed legislation “arbitrarily targets coloured and Indian South Africans in the fight to generate prosperity”.
Motshekga said he was not surprised that the DA would publicly support the union’s “inflammatory statement”.
“The party [DA] has always thrived on racial politics. It is reckless to play racial politics and spread falsehoods and distortions on something as important and very close to the hearts of ordinary South Africans as the issue of employment,” he said.
He added that it was “unthinkable” that the ANC would “seek to disadvantage” those they had liberated and sought to empower.
He accused the union and the opposition party of fomenting racial tension ahead of the local government polls, due to take place later this year.
The labour department and ANC ally, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) have rejected Solidarity’s claims.
Cosatu described them as “inflammatory and irresponsible”. — Sapa