Watershed judgment expected against equity flouting employers

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The government’s crackdown on employment equity flouting companies will on Wednesday, 19 April, come under a sharp spotlight when the Durban Labour Court hands down judgment in two separate cases involving textile manufacturers.

In what could mark the first ever successful prosecution of its kind under South Africa’s equity legislation, two KwaZulu-Natal companies, Jinghua Garments and Wincool Industrial, will finally know their fate after appearances on charges of violating sections of the Employment Equity Act.

The two cases against the companies were referred to the Labour Court last year following a series of inspections by Labour Department officials in the Newcastle area.

The companies face charges of failing to comply with Sections 20 and 21 of the equity law, which compel employers to display the law on their notice boards and require them to send their equity plans to the Department respectively.

The Labour Department has often expressed confidence that judgment against the two would send a strong warning to others about the government’s intolerance of employers who deliberately flout the law.

Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana has said the prosecutions will go a long way towards demonstrating to both private and public sector employers the government’s seriousness about transforming the workplace.

"Employment equity is not about to be scrapped and it is time we live with that fact,' the Minister said.

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