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As EE deadline looms, are SA's corporates in for a big surprise?

20 July 2006 Mediaweb Online

As October's Employment Equity (EE) deadline looms once more, some of SA's corporates may be unwittingly sailing dangerously close to the wind, from an EE perspective.

Most companies had to lodge their very first reports in terms of Employment Equity Reporting by the 1st December 2000, with the duration of between 1-5 years, to meet their targets, meaning many companies are tasked to draft a fresh EE plan on October 1st this year. The problem is that many of these companies are plainly unaware of this.


Marleen Potgieter, who was involved in the first drafting of the Regulations and who has the necessary expertise and experience on the implementation of EE and reporting, is able to provide consulting to ensure compliance with the changes. She comments, "It is apparent that not all companies realise their plans expire, and many companies have not reached their projected targets. This means that all of those affected companies have to draft a new plan and report on their new targets."

To compound the issue, all companies should be aware of the new EE Regulations (Regulation Gazette No: 8474) that were issued by the Government Printer on May 26, 2006. Companies will also need to report on these by October 1st.

She adds, "A further problem to add to this is that, under the new regulations, the reporting format has been changed significantly, which may mean intensive updating to submit correctly."

To solve these pain areas, Potgieter suggests the following:
*Dig out your plan (which should not be mistaken for the Report, which is a separate document - plans are the in-house documents, not sent to the Department of Labour, which set out the targets of companies in terms of s 20 of the EEA);
*Reconvene an Employment Equity Forum, which by this time may have lost its raison d'etre, and consult with them on drafting a new Plan;
*Assess progress on your old plan and decide what can be brought forward and what needs to be looked at afresh;
*Get on top of the new Regulations; and
*Draft a new plan with progressive targets that will pass the muster and scrutiny of the EE Directorate and their inspectors

She adds, "It's all about perseverance. Most companies were not too bad in convening Forums in the first place, and putting together an initial EE Plan, but in many companies, the initial enthusiasm has worn off and not much progress has been made on transformation. This can be for many reasons, not least of which, that most companies do not tackle the problem from a practical point of view. A practical approach, integrating the basic HR practices with the targets for EE, so that EE becomes "business as usual" is the approach to be adopted."

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