Draconian race law and regulations no longer in effect on 1 September

Solidarity welcomes the Department of Employment and Labour’s announcement that the draconian Employment Equity Amendment Act as well as the draft regulations the minister had announced in terms of this Act would no longer come into effect on 1 September 2023.

However, the Department still maintains that the previous Act must still be taken into account when race plans (EE plans) are drawn up in the workplace. Solidarity however warns employers that they could soon find themselves on the wrong side of the law if they do not heed the recent agreement reached between Solidarity and the government.

According to Dr Dirk Hermann, Solidarity chief executive, it is a major victory for the community that the Amendment Act and the regulations will not come into effect.

“It is important to realise that it was the community that has resisted this legislation in large numbers. This includes the 27 different organisations and political parties that recently signed an agreement at a joint conference in which they undertook to resist the Amendment Act and the regulations,” Hermann said.

Organisations such as Solidarity, Sakeliga, NEASA, the Democratic Alliance, the Freedom Front Plus and the South African Institute of Race Relations all started legal action.

Meanwhile, Solidarity and the South African government have reached an agreement on the country’s racial policy. In terms of this agreement race may no longer be the only factor in applying racial policies. Also, there may no longer be absolute ceilings, no one may be dismissed for the sake of affirmative action and empowerment in the workplace and natural staff turnover, as well as the pool of skills must be taken into account.

Solidarity now appeals to employers to take this settlement between Solidarity and the government into account when drafting any race plans.

Hermann says the settlement agreement that was reached with the government will have a huge impact on South Africa.

“This agreement stipulates that the settlement must be published as regulations in the Government Gazette. Employers therefore have no other choice but to take the settlement into consideration,” he says.

The settlement agreement will be made an order of the court on 31 October 2023.

“After 31 October 2023, the settlement agreement will be an order of the court, and the Amendment Act and the regulations will no longer come into force. This means that the face of race legislation in South Africa will never be the same again,” says Hermann.

“This is an important strategic blow that has been struck against the racial dispensation, but the war is not over yet.”

Solidarity does, however, believe that this historical event emphasises how unity and resistance from the community is the most effective countermeasure against a power greedy government.