Having previously failed to muster a quorum, the ANC managed to pass the Employment Equity (EE) Amendment Bill in the National Assembly yesterday. This law is a damaging and destructive exercise in social engineering that will worsen South Africa’s economic woes. The DA will petition the President not to sign it into law.

Critically, the Bill empowers the Minster of Employment and Labour to set numerical EE targets for any national economic sector after a vaguely defined process of consultation with the relevant sectors. In future, state contracts mainly be issued to employers who have been certified – by the Minister – as being compliant with their obligations under the Act. These obligations include compliance with ministerially-determined sectoral targets. A designated employer’s compliance with the law may also now be measured, not only against the demographic profile of either the national or the regional economically active population, but also against the sectoral numerical targets set by the Minister.

This is a recipe for malicious ministerial meddling.

The new powers conferred upon the Minister are completely incompatible with the principles of a market-based economy.

The Bill will deter investors, undermine economic growth and jeopardise jobs at a time when many businesses are on their knees, with almost 12 million South Africans unemployed and a record-high unemployment rate (on the expanded definition) of 44.4%

In its ideologically-blinkered and unconstitutional pursuit of “demographic representivity”, the ANC has now unleashed a legislative wrecking ball on the private sector. Instead of freeing up businesses for economy recovery, the ANC intends to clamp down on them under the jackboot of racial interventionism.

The DA will petition the President not to sign the Employment Equity Amendment Bill into law.

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Dr Michael Cardo MP

Dr Michael Cardo MP is the Democratic Alliance Shadow Minister for Employment and Labour.

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