Affirmative action still lags behind

Below is an article from our Affirmative Action Media Monitoring Project. These articles represent a wide variety of views. These views do not necessarily represent the views of AAPF but instead are intended to provide you with an overview of the current affirmative action debate. April 6, 2011

By Mathias Haufiku

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Gender and Social Affairs early this week met with the Employment Equity Commission (EEC) to discuss compliance of the publicprivate sectors and parastatals with the requirements of the Employment Equity Act of 1998.

Also on the agenda was looking at strategiesmechanisms to ensure that employers develop and implement affirmative action plans consistent with the Act.

They also discussed the current situation with regard to equitable representation of designated groups in all occupational categories and levels in the workplace and the successes and challenges facing the EEC in the implementation of the Act.

Employment Equity Commission Commissioner, Vilbard Usiku, encouraged employers to create a conducive work environment that would allow all employees to be equal. He further accentuated that employers should stop designing jobs aimed at excluding those from disadvantaged groups.

Usiku felt that all Namibians should have equal employment opportunities. “I want to urge all employers in our society to eliminate discrimination of any sort, whether it is sexual, gender or racial. Although women are underprivileged when it comes to employment opportunities, measures are in place to rectify the imbalance, because our women also need to enjoy employment benefits,” he stressed. Usiku reiterated that employers who violate the laws in any way would be prosecuted accordingly.

“A mindset is difficult to change, therefore measures have to be brought in place to ensure that those treating employees unfairly are brought to book,” said Usiku. According to the Employment Equity Commission, defaulters convicted by the courts for failing to comply with the provisions of the Affirmative Action Act of 1998 would be issued with fines.

According to the Commission’s report, employers continue to violate the affirmative action law, with the common offence being failure to submit affirmative action reports by the reporting dates as required by the law.

“The Commission and the law enforcement agencies will continue to act firmly against the culprits to ensure that no relevant employer will be allowed to violate the affirmative action law with impunity,” stated the Commission.

The Commission is mainly responsible for enforcing compliance with the provisions of the Act by conducting regular visits to business premises to verify the accuracy of information provided through the annual affirmative action reports.

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