Death Penalty ramaphosa

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Confirmed: BEE laws in South Africa getting a major shake-up

There are three significant changes coming to the way Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) laws are implemented in South Africa.

Death Penalty ramaphosa

Photo: Envato Elements

There will be a few major changes to the way BEE regulations – as well as other “equity numerical targets” – are enforced this year, thanks to the government’s green-lighting of a newly-introduced law.

Following its fortnightly meeting, Cabinet has officially approved the submission of the Employment Equity Amendment Bill of 2020 (EEA) to Parliament.

How are BEE laws changing?

The amendments empower the Employment and Labour Minister, in consultation with sector stakeholders, to introduce enabling provisions for the setting of sector-specific Employment Equity numerical targets.

It also reduces the regulatory burden on small employers: The Bill promotes equal opportunity and fair treatment in employment through the elimination of unfair discrimination.

It also ensures that an employment equity certificate of compliance becomes a precondition for access to state contracts. The measures have been brought in to help accelerate transformation targets in South Africa, and to address the massively-unbalanced proportion of black citizens who are currently unemployed.

This essentially means…

  • The Labour Minister Thembelani Nxesi gains more control on what targets can be set for the employment of each demographic – whether that’s for BEE, or to bring more women and disabled citizens into the workforce.
  • Those seeking deals with the government – local, provincial or national – must possess a compliance certificate.
  • Meanwhile, small businesses will be put under less pressure to comply with strict regulations.

Abuse of the BEE system

In fact, the bill is specifically engineered to help shake-up the structures of Black Economic Empowerment. BEE has been heavily maligned over the years, for its apparent failure to open up employment opportunities for disadvantaged South African workers. Last year, it was revealed the system had been heavily abused by the Guptas, who manipulated the figures to work in their favour.