New challenge to Bay’s equity policy

Three officials, who previously challenged the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality’s employment equity policy, are planning a second legal bid in the hope of getting the city to use a different set of racial demographics to hire staff.
This was prompted by the city’s plans to use national and provincial, rather than local, demographics to draw up its new employment equity plan.
Based on the 2016 national and provincial demographics, the municipality should have only 11.5% coloured people in its employ, even though coloureds comprise about 24% of the city’s population.
This will exacerbate unemployment among the coloured community and stunt development goals of coloured staff in the city’s employ, according to one of the officials, Willie Blundin, who has consistently challenged the metro’s use of population demographics.
In an attempt to force the municipality to use Bay demographics in determining its equity targets, Blundin – along with Dean du Plessis and Allister Jordan – took it to court in 2015.
After discussions with city bosses, the three agreed to settle the matter out of court as former mayor Danny Jordaan promised to intervene and lobby for a change to the demographics used.
In a report to the corporate services portfolio committee, which met on Tuesday, acting executive director Nosipho Xhego said the municipality was developing a new employment equity plan to take effect from November 2018 to October 2023.
The report says the department of labour stipulated at a workshop in September that the municipality must stick to its recommendations when developing the new employment equity plan. It also said the city must use national and provincial targets.
The department would inspect the plan in November to see if it is compliant.
In the city’s previous plan – which covered 2013 to 2018 – the employment target was 75% for black Africans, 13% for coloureds, 10.5% for whites and 0.8% for Indians. This was based on the 2011 Census.
The 2016 demographics for the Eastern Cape show fewer whites, coloureds and Indians that should be employed by the government.
The figures are: black Africans 83%, coloureds 11.5%, whites 5.4%, and Indians 0.2%.
Blundin said the figures did not make sense.
“If the municipality uses those figures, it would result in more unemployment in the coloured areas,” he said.
“The last time the percentage for black Africans was 76%. How did it get to 83%?
“The only way to deal with this is to allow the court to interpret it properly. We are taking this matter back to court.”
Councillors on the corporate services committee also said the municipality must be more “inclusive” of gender neutral staff, who do not identify as either male or female.
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