DA to launch High Court challenge against ANC race quotas

Issued by John Steenhuisen MP – Leader of the Democratic Alliance
06 Jun 2023 in News

Note to Editors:  A voicenote from the DA Federal Leader John Steenhuisen is attached here

The Democratic Alliance (DA) will this week approach the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria to declare various sections of the Employment Equity Amendment Act (EEAA) unconstitutional and invalid.

The draft form of the regulations issued in terms of section 15A last month, will as a result also fall.

In our submission, the DA will demonstrate that the term “numerical targets” used by the Act is a misnomer and that, in reality, the Act sets rigid racial quotas for four different job levels across 18 economic sectors. The Act empowers the Minister to determine quotas that specify the particular demographic composition that designated employers must achieve, on pain of severe penalties – including the inability to do business with the state, the cancellation of existing state contracts, compelling orders, and fines. These quotas amount to job reservation based on race on a scale last seen before 1994.

The scheme violates the constitutional rights to equality, to freedom of trade, occupation and profession, as well as the original Employment Equity Act’s own prohibition on quotas.

The amended Act represents a radical, unconstitutional and dangerous intensification of the ANC’s race-based social engineering. It provides no flexibility to employers to determine what is feasible in their own business environment, instead centralising power in the hands of one Minister to dictate the racial composition of workplaces across the country. In some provinces and sectors, it sets the quota for coloured and Indian South Africans at 0.0% and 0.1%. In other cases, such as in the Northern Cape, companies would be in violation of the law if it employs “too many” black women.

This approach is at odds with the basic economic reality that different employers in a particular sector have different employment needs and face different labour markets. One employer might need electricians. Another might require coders. Another fitters and turners. But section 15A of the Act would permit the Minister to lump all of these employers together and force them to hire the same specified ratios of various race combinations.

We cannot allow this draconian race-based legislation to stand. It will not only directly lead to mass job losses. It will also accelerate capital and skills flight at a time when our economy is already in a deep crisis brought about by load shedding and economic mismanagement. Ultimately, all South Africans will suffer as unemployment and poverty grows beyond already catastrophic levels.

The ANC’s race quota law is clearly designed not to grow the economy, but to sow racial division for political purposes. This means that, in addition to legal challenges, we also need to meet this political ploy head on through the ballot box. If we allow an ANC-EFF Doomsday Coalition to come to power next year, these draconian race quotas will only be the beginning of the destruction of our economy.

The DA is committed to work with all partners – both in political parties and civil society – to ensure the victory of the Moonshot Pact over the Doomsday Coalition in 2024 to inaugurate a new government that assigns race-based legislation to the dustbin of history.

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