Employment Equity – Regional or national Demographics – That is the question?

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This topic contains 1 reply, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  Ashwin Heerachund 3 years, 8 months ago.

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  • #1644

    Des Squire

    The EE Act 55 of 1998 requires designated employers to submit an EE Plan. This plan is intended to outline progression towards bringing about equity in the workplace. Included in this plan is a section that indicates the representation of designated groups (black, coloured, indian and white employees) at all occupational levels. But in order to do this employers are required to make use of the relevant demographics of the country.

    The problem of course is (1) where do we find the most up to date demographics and (2) which demographics do we use – regional or National?

    In a recent case involving solidarity and others versus the department of correctional services and others the employees (from the western cape) argued they were being unfairly discriminated against when National Demographics were used. The employer argued that it was a national department and therefore had to use National demographics. The labour court however argues that the EE Act and the constitution required affirmative action that provided substantive equality. In doing so it referred to the EE Act that refers to both National and regional demographics. In doing so it stated that both must be taken into consideration when completing EE plans. It was therefor ruled that the employees had in fact been unfairly discriminated against.

    last week a second case was heard on the same issue and unfortunately I have not as yet heard the outcome?

    How do you approach this issue. What demographics do you use? Where do you source your information on demographics – particularly regional demographics?


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  • #1660

    Ashwin Heerachund

    Whilst National demographics seem to be the norm, there is a strong case for regional figures.

    Failure to consider regional demographics will result in training simply as a tick-box exercise, and not to add value. Strategic business needs have to be a cornerstone of any SD policy.

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  • #1659

    Tebogo Boroto



    that as a result of apartheid and other discriminatory laws and practices, there are disparities in employment, occupation and income within the national labour market; and

    that those disparities create such pronounced disadvantages for certain categories of people that they cannot be redressed simply by repealing discriminatory laws,

    Therefore, in order to-

    promote the constitutional right of equality and the exercise of true democracy;

    eliminate unfair discrimination in employment;

    ensure the implementation of employment equity to redress the effects of discrimination;

    achieve a diverse workforce broadly representative of our people; promote economic development and efficiency in the workforce; and

    give effect to the obligations of the Republic as a member of the International Labour Organisation,



    BE  IT  EACTED  by  the  Parliament  of  the  Republic  of  South  Africa  as follows.-


    Good Morning Stakeholders,

    I just thought that I should start off by quoting the Preamble of the EEAct. In no particular order I would like to touch on the preamble.

    1. Whenever we refer to the constitution, we are going to deal with Equality and not Equity. Two very distinct issues. All are equal before the law, that is a given(EQUALITY) but not all people are equal in positions, THAT IS EQUITY.

    2. Advantaged People have advanced positionally in the National Labour Market more than the Previously Disadvantaged. I know it is a well known fact that The Proponents of Anti-Social Development and Anti-Affirmative Action are oblivious to this.

    3.Disparities are still glaringly visible in many organisations( Results are there).

    4. A recognition has been made of these factors, however removing discriminatory laws is not enough; Redress was the only key to open the labour market and level the playing fields.

    So Affirmative Action was the only tool to effectively and properly be used for Reddress. Yes the implementation might have been wrong however there is no other right tool for reddress.


    So we need Labour Court judges who are knowledgeable enough to understand where this comes from and why it is in place.


    The Western Cape issue was wrongly judged as Regionally; The demographics would not have addressed the issue in hand. That is why, the government had to look into National demographics to solve the Cape impasse in order for that department not to be seen to be exclusive. 

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  • #1658

    Des Squire

    I go back to my original questions which were

    How do you or your company approach this issue?

    What demographics do you use? 

    Where do you source your information on demographics – particularly regional demographics?

    Any EE experts willing to comment on the above 

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  • #1657

    sylvia hammond

    Hi Tebogo, Thanks for your contribution. 

    Please will you explain further – are you referring to a particular Labour Court case?  

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  • #1656

    Steve Short

    Don’t get me started Des… Sorry, but this topic is too hot to comment on.

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  • #1655

    Steve Short

    Tebogo, I am interested to find out if there is a sunset clause that is evident.  IOW, Does a ‘previously’ disadvantaged person who has previously benefited from such legislation treated in the same way as somebody who has not?  If not, then it might also be legislation that allows the rich to become richer…

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  • #1654

    Tebogo Boroto

    Morning Sylvia

    The case in point was Solidarity obo Barnard. It was interesting indeed in that it went as far as the constitutional court. The one sad thing with Barnard was that she was a designated person in that she was a woman however her racial grouping was over-represented that is why her manager decided not to give the position even after she came top of the interviewees.

    The other sad thing with this case is that she was allowed to sit for the interview in the first instance. This borders on know-how. I feel that the department did not have the knowledge or expertise to deal with such issues, it was only after they were ordered to consider Affirmative Action that they acted( This is my opinion, it has to be tested). 

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  • #1653

    Tebogo Boroto

    Morning Steve

    I am not good at semantics but I can try if you would like to indulge me.

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  • #1652

    Steve Short

    Sure Tebogo.  Fire away!

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  • #1651

    Des Squire

    That Tebogo is where the law (the Act) stipulates what should happen in such instances.

    While a person may be the best candidate for a position – if the “designated group section” is over represented then that person cannot be considered if there are other applicants.

    Affirmative action come into play here (restricting applications which do not fall within the requirements) and the various positions should be advertised accordingly to avoid such conflict. If used correctly EE and AA can be effective and will achieve the desired results.

    Union representative for the most part do not understand and in many instances have never read or had any training on the application of the EE Act (and many of the other Acts also).   

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  • #1650

    Tebogo Boroto

    I agree with you 100% Des. I also feel that the matter goes beyond union representatives. Managers need to be articulate too, because most of the time this matter is left to HR/HC Dept., who in turn mess it up and by the time union reps jump on the bandwagon it so messed up that we need bulldozers, cranes and any other heavyduty machinery to try and pull it out of the slime.

    Our policies and acts are not so bad, the problem is their application and enforcement that is a headache. Maybe we should move beyond mere acts and make them laws ( easily enforceable) I AM JUST THINKING OUT ALOUD HERE.  

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  • #1649

    Hi Dess

    The company I worked for had a number of large sites in Gauteng, KZN and Western Cape.

    We had a national plan for all the sites and this plan was based on national demographics.

    However each individual site was evaluated and their plans was drafted according to regional demographics with the goal to accomplish the national plan. Basically this meant that our Coloured target balance was moved to the Western Cape sites, Indian to KZN and Gauteng free for all. We also addressed the demographic split at basic entry level positions where white candidates were under represented.

    The approach was accepted by the EE committee

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  • #1648

    Des Squire

    Now that Marilize make a lot of sense and seems to be the standard approach.

    Where as a matter of interest do you source the regional demographics? The last I can find are three years old.  

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  • #1647

    I used the statssa QES. Unfortunately it entail quite a bit calculations

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  • #1646

    Steve Short

    Still waiting Tebogo and ready to indulge you 🙂

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  • #1645

    Moegsien Harris

    All legislation that are based on race are discriminatory and particularly offensive to black designated people as it smacks of being incompetent to perform as a normal person will perform in a job position.

    It has been proven in the twenty years in our democracy that an insignificant number of blacks are benefiting by these laws and it further polarises our already shaky unity (UBUNTU) into pockets of different Africans, Koisan, Malay, Coloured, Tiawanese, Chinese, Indian, European, American, Afro American and the illogic continues unabated. 

    We cannot undo the ills of the past as it haunts us, but not forever and we need to build on what we have. South Africa remains one of the most unequal societies in the world precisely due to our government applying some reverse laws of apartheid. We can better serve a united South Africa, united in our diversity by funding aggressive up-skilling where critical skills are required in our economy. Build better academic infra-structure where the needs are required. Any country can only hope to give the kind of social health and welfare services that are desperately needed if our economy focuses on developing people effectively growing and building a “winning” nation.

    Our economy is driven by a hand full  of inhumane capitalists, power hungry in keeping humanity dis-empowered. Understand the stock exchange and find out who runs the country. Power Hungry Sods. Soon we will have the Chinese driving the local economy not forgetting government. See for yourself what is happening in Zimbabwe…… poor uncle BoB. Did he make the suggestion to our government …….. wander what currency is going to settle our international debts.

    “Arise from your sleep Oh ye sluggard”. Democracy and freedom are clearly misunderstood, and these practices place the security of any nation at risk more especially during these challenging times.

    I really pray for our freedom, freedom of choice and freedom from discriminatory practices regardless of any reasons given other that prescribed by the great religions of the world. Let there be Peace for all times.

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One thought on “Employment Equity – Regional or national Demographics – That is the question?

  • Tersia Kuhne

    Marylin – excellent words.

    We need passion to make a difference in our immediate environment and  more important the other individuals making their journey on this mother earth.

    We joke about having a JOB! Is just being over broke.  But actually it is a detrimental way of looking at you life work.

    I am working at the University of the Free State with recognition of prior learning (RPL) which is an utmost empowerment tool for others to get admission in qualifications.

    We create learning paths for people’s who had a disadvantaged school education or were not wise enough to make an effort in their Senior Certificate.

    For an example we developed RPL for home based care givers and ancialiary health care workers. This groups has reached a dead end in the career path since there are very few training opportunities  available. THis wonderful care givers work in old age homes, hospitals and private patients, They are marginalized group who is easily exploited. Most of them wants a better life – they want opportunities to rise above the job cliche.  The UFS created possibility thinking and we developed RPL for admission in a four year Nursing Diploma. We did it in collaboration with the Free State School of Nurses (Welkom,Bloemfeintein, QWaQwa) who provided the training, the Free State Department of Health provided the bursaries, study leave and the work place , clinics and hospitals and the RPL Office who did the RPL.

    We met so many people with that outstanding passion for their work and the resolution to make a difference in the life of .others.

    Nelson MAndele said:

                      “There is no passion to be found in playing it small,

                       in settling for a life less than the one you are capable of living.”

    RPL is not a main stream admission path BUT it open doors for mature adults not to settle for a life less than the one they capable of living and to develop their human and social potential and enhance their socio-economic progress.

    From 2004 to 2014 we assisted more than 11000 enquirers,and at least 970 fortunate candidates got admission and bursaries into the Nursing college.These people are the torch carriers of hope and passion to bring transformation about in the Nursing field


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