Busa2BL Premium reports that two business organisations argued in parliament on Thursday that proposed legislation which would give Department of Employment and Labour (DEL) Minister the power to set sectoral targets for employment equity was unconstitutional in its current form.

Presenting their comment to MPs on the Employment Equity Amendment Bill, Business Unity SA (Busa) and the SA Forum of Civil Engineering Contractors (Safcec) said forcing compliance with the targets as a precondition to secure state contracts would be unconstitutional. Busa’s Nedlac business convener Kaizer Moyane said during the hearing that the bill “simply empowers the minister to determine targets without reference to any prescribed framework. As such it will, in Busa’s view, be unconstitutional.” He went on the say: “The consequences of not meeting the sectoral targets would eliminate organisations from transacting with the state and destroy their revenue lines, resulting in liquidation and job losses.” The bill aims to address the slow pace of transformation of the economy to achieve employment equity, which business agrees with government has been too slow. It hopes to do this by giving the DEL minister the power to set numerical sectoral targets for blacks, women and the disabled, replacing the existing self-imposed employment equity targets. The bill stipulates that companies that fail to comply with the targets will be fined 1% to 10% of turnover and would be disqualified from doing business with the government.

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