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Cabinet backs Oliphant’s call for harsh sentences over transformation

Minister Mildred Oliphant launched the Commission for Employment Equity Report, revealing the slow pace of transformation at workplaces.

FILE: Minister of Labour Mildred Oliphant. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - Cabinet has backed a call by Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant for harsher sentences for companies that do not comply with employment equity targets.

Oliphant launched the 17th Commission for Employment Equity Report earlier this week which revealed the slow pace of transformation at South African workplaces.

At a briefing at Parliament on Thursday on resolutions taken by Cabinet at its meeting on Wednesday, Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo said Cabinet agreed that stiffer sentences were necessary to transform
the economy.

The latest employment equity report showed that white people occupied 68% of the country's top management positions in the public and private sector. That's six times the group's economically active population.

Africans only make up 14.4 % of top management.

Cabinet says this is simply not good enough if the government is to transform the economy and ensure inclusive growth.

Minister Dlodlo said: “Small fines have proven not to be effective, companies would prefer to pay the fine, which is almost insignificant, rather than comply with legislation.

Dlodlo says it's still unclear what steps the labour minister plans to take regarding consequences for non-compliance.