South Africa to introduce new BEE changes to improve transformation of the employment sector

In previous articles the inter-related aspects of various laws and regulations were discussed albeit from a training perspective. The inter-relatedness of BEE and EE has come to the fore once again but as means to highlight the slow progress not just of B-BBEE but also that of Employment Equity.

In July 2019, the Labour Minister announced a planned amendment bill to permit the creation of sector-specific employment targets to address the gross under-representation of black persons, women and persons with disabilities. This amendment would also ensure that an employment equity certificate of compliance becomes a precondition for access to state contracts.

A draft version of the bill published at the end of 2018 indicated that the changes being were made to speed up transformation in the country. Cabinet approved the submission of the bill to parliament in February 2020.

The amendments will empower the minister of Employment and Labour, in consultation with sector stakeholders, to introduce enabling provisions for the setting of sector-specific Employment Equity numerical targets. It also reduces the regulatory burden on small employers. The bill promotes equal opportunity and fair treatment in employment through the elimination of unfair discrimination.

The Department of Employment and Labour will amend and enact changes around South Africa’s employment equity regulations to address issues around equal opportunities and inclusion.

Historical facts of the government’s 2018-2019 Employment Equity report indicate that black Africans currently constitute 23.2% and 40.2% at the senior and middle management levels as reported by designated employers. The proposal is for at least a 2% annual increase in the representation of black Africans in senior and middle-manager levels.

The Department of Labour plans to set sector targets to bring this to at least 50% within the next five years (2024).

Below is a list of inter-related laws, regulations and government departments. As an example; implementing B-BBEE in your company is not a short-term and basic matter. It comes with a host of inter-related and supportive aspects to fully consider in order to make transformation meaningful.

Relevant Acts, Plans, Reports and Government Departments.

  • Skills Development Act Number 97 of 1998
  • Skills Development Levies Act Number 9 of 1999
  • Income Tax Act Act Number 58 of 1962
  • Tax Administration Act No. 28 of 2011
  • Employment Equity Act Number 55 of 1998
  • B-BBEE Amendment Number Act 46 of 2013
  • Employment Tax Incentive Act Number 26 of 2013
  • National Skills Development Plan (NDP)
  • Sector Skills Plan (SSP) for the period 2019 and beyond
  • Workplace Skills Plan (WSP)
  • Annual Training Report (ATR)
  • SARS (the Skills Development Levies are administered by SARS)
  • Department of Labour
  • Department of Higher Education and Training
  • Department of Trade and Industry
  • BEE Commission

When implementing B-BBEE practices in a company one must remain focussed on the vast impact of such changes not just on your company ownership but also the livelihood of staff, suppliers and the local community too.

Should anyone conducting business in South Africa perceive transformation of an entire country’s workforce and economy to be an overly simple matter then a poor understanding of the laws, regulations and socio-economic impact exists.

Interpreting a host of legal aspects involved in B-BBEE matters nowadays clearly requires support from consultants and businesses are advised to use expert knowledge at all times to ensure compliance where required.

Author Craig Tonkin

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