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South Africa: Update on the Employment Equity Act amendments

31 August 2023
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Overview

  • The South African Employment Equity Amendment Act (EEAA), which introduces significant amendments to the Employment Equity Act, was signed into law by President Ramaphosa on 6 April 2023 and published in the Government Gazette on 14 April 2023.
  • However, the provisions of the EEAA did not immediately come into force and are to take effect on a date fixed by the President by proclamation in the Government Gazette. Based on previous media statements by the Department of Employment and Labour (DEL), it was anticipated that the amendments would come into force with effect from 1 September 2023.
  • However, on recent communications by the DEL, we understand that the amendments will, in fact, not come into effect on this date.

The Employment Equity Amendment Act, 2022 (EEAA), which introduces significant amendments to the Employment Equity Act, was signed into law by President Ramaphosa on 6 April 2023. However, the provisions of the EEAA did not immediately come into force and are to take effect on a date fixed by the President by proclamation in the Government Gazette. Based on previous media statements by the Department of Employment and Labour (DEL), it was anticipated that the amendments would come into force with effect from 1 September 2023.

The DEL recently issued a notice to all employers concerning the 2023 employment equity reporting period (available here) in which it confirms that the reporting period will open tomorrow (1 September 2023) and that all designated employers are to submit their annual employment equity reports in terms of the current provisions of the EEA, as the EEAA is not yet in effect.

Further, in a media statement released yesterday (available here) the Director of Employment Equity is quoted as saying that it was the DEL’s intention for the amendments to come into effect from 1 September 2023, so as to allow employers to report on the new updated reporting system, and that the DEL is ready to implement the amendments.

However, the President is required to proclaim the effective date and this proclamation notice is still pending. It is anticipated that, upon proclamation of the effective date, the employment equity regulations and final sector targets will be published for implementation.

Accordingly, as things currently stand, the amendments are not yet in effect. We have no indication as to when the proclamation notice will be published.

In the circumstances, designated employers, including employers who employ fewer than 50 employees and meet the (current) applicable turnover thresholds, are required to submit their annual reports for the 2023 reporting period as usual.

The closing date for manual submissions is 2 October 2023 and online submissions is midnight on 15 January 2024. Activation links should be issued to employers today to enable them to activate their 2023 EE reporting accounts.