1. Creating jobs and reducing unemployment are key socio-economic imperatives to promote South African inclusive growth and economic transformation. Among others, this will be achieved through transformation of labour market. Positive relationship between employers and employees lead to alleviation of poverty and inequality thereby producing economic growth. Since the inception of Employment Equity Act (EEA) 21 years ago, employers that employ 50 or more employees and those that employ between 0-49 employees but their annual turnover threshold is equal or above the prescribed one in Schedule 4 of the EEA, always had regulated powers to self-regulate their Employee Equity targets and EE Numerical Goals in their EE Plans in relation to how they wish to implement Affirmative Action in their workplaces.
The Labour Relations Act (LRA) is also premised on regulated flexibility. The bargaining council formation is a voluntary system which is decided upon by parties for their specific sector. They determine the conditions of employment and wages which are appropriate for their sector without any government intervention. The LRA requires that before bargaining councils could require the Minister to extend their collective agreements to non-parties within their sector, they should be sufficiently representative of that sector. There is no collective agreement that can be extended by the Minister of Employment and Labour if such a collective agreement does not take into consideration the affairs of small business within the sector, this is stipulated in our Labour Laws. Non-parties can apply to the council to be exempted from a collective agreement and if not happy about the decision of the bargaining council, they appeal to the exemption independent appeal body.
All what one is trying to demonstrate above without exhausting the list is that what is contained in the proposed economic recovery plan of Minister of Finance, Mr T T Mboweni in relation to employment and labour is mostly already found in our labour laws, regulations and policies and not only that, it is practiced, reviewed, amended as and when the need for that arises.
2. Yes, the Department of Employment and Labour has submitted inputs through our internal government coordination structures at Directors General Cluster and Ministerial Cluster Cabinet Committee levels.
3. The Department of Employment and Labour has a number of programmes that are creating employment opportunities and assisting our country’s economic recovery plans. These programmes are being reviewed to maximise their impact, improve efficiency and to take them to scale. The Department of Employment and Labour’s programmes have as their central theme, employment and they complement each other in both creation and preservation of employment. These programmes and interventions include the following:-
- Public Employment Services Branch provision of free employment services to the public i.e. work seekers and employers in areas of registration, work opportunities registration, counselling services and placement in registered opportunities
- Unemployment Insurance Fund / Compensation Fund investments in State Owned Enterprises through the Public Investment Cooperation and the Independent Development Cooperation
- UIF/CF/PES Labour Activation Programme and Employment Schemes that are placing people in employment.
- DEL Entities interventions such as Productivity SA: Assistance to companies to Turn Around their situations, establishment of workplace forums to improve productivity and to withstand competition,
- NEDLAC initiatives aimed at broadening social dialogue and consultation on a range of matters to maintain peace and stability in their labour market.
- CCMA dispute resolutions interventions to maintain work place peace and prevention of loss of production.
- Promotion of employment of people with disabilities though Employment equity enforcement, subsidies to 13 Supported Employment Enterprises factories that we own and other 10 other organisations that employ new people with disabilities.
- Inspection and Enforcement interventions that are aimed at ensuring that minimum standards are maintained in the work places and to prevent occupational injuries and deceases.
- UIF and CF Payments that are made to beneficiaries to provide income replacement in instances of loss of employment or occupational injuries and deceases