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DA: NMB Employment Equity plan falls short, could result in R1.5 million fine

Sep 17, 2019
DA: NMB Employment Equity plan falls short, could result in R1.5 million fine

Port Elizabeth - The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality is facing Labour Court action, and a possible fine of R1.5-million, after pushing through an employment equity plan that the Department of Labour has found to be non-compliant, the Democratic Alliance (DA) says.

"This despite numerous warnings from the Democratic Alliance that the plan was substandard and needed to be reworked," said Annette Lovemore Cllr - Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Councillor.

"The municipal directorate for corporate services tabled its Employment Equity plan in October last year.

Earlier that month, before its submission, the DA submitted a detailed analysis of the plan to the City Manager's office, stating that, "The current plan is a substandard product that is not befitting of our Metro. I trust that you will…demand that the plan be reworked."

Lovemore said that this suggestion was ignored.

"At a Corporate Services portfolio committee meeting in January this year, the DA again argued against the plan. The Member of the Mayoral Committee for Corporate Services, Cllr Makhi Feni, however, ignored these concerns and lauded officials for completing the plan by the cut-off date," she described.

"In June the Department of Labour issued a report, together with recommendations to correct instances of non-compliance.

"A letter of non-compliance was sent and the municipality was given 60 days in which to rectify the shortcomings of the Employment Equity plan."

She said that on Monday, a Labour Inspector addressed the municipality and stated the Metro has done nothing to rectify the shortcomings.

Lovemore said that the Inspector listed several areas of non-compliance, which mirrored the concerns raised by the DA in October 2018.

These include:

• The targets do not address transformation; in fact, in many cases, targeted action exacerbates current under- or over-representation, rather than addresses it;
• The plan is based on outdated population and workforce statistics;
• The barriers to and strategies for achieving affirmative action are cut-and-paste versions of previous reports; and
• The plan is not in touch with reality with respect to the number of positions likely to be vacated or filled or created.

"This shows that the current government of Nelson Mandela Bay has a care-less approach to employment equity, and did not take into account the current demographics of the city while drafting the EE plan," she added.

"This is in sharp contrast to when the DA governed, where numerous appointments were made, including at senior management level, in the spirit of diversity and equal opportunity for all.

"The Department of Labour will now recommend that the matter be referred to the Labour Court for a finding of non-compliance with the Employment Equity Act. If found guilty, the municipality could be fined R1.5-million.

"Those officials and executive political office bearers responsible must be held to account and bear the costs of the court action, not Nelson Mandela Bay ratepayers."

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