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Tracking progress on the implementation and impact of the Employment Equity Act since its inception

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Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)

Person/s author/s:

Bischoff, Christine; Bhlungu, Sakhela; Lewins, Kezia; Bezuidenhout, Andries


research report



The aim of the Employment Equity Act (EEA) of 1998 is to redress fundamental labour market inequities and to minimise discrimination on the basis of demographic profile (race, gender) as well as disability and HIV status. However, as we show in this report, success in terms of a number of objective measures of employment equity remains lacklustre. The aim of this study is to systematically evaluate the effects of the mechanisms and institutions created by the EEA. The research questions addressed by the research are the following: What is the scope and nature of administrative compliance, and what are the key strengths and weaknesses of the enforcement procedures and mechanisms? What are the main trends and issues arising from existing knowledge of EEA implementation and the changing face of the workforce? What are the emerging best practices and lessons that can be learnt from companies in terms of conceptualisation, operationalisation and compliance of EE plans? What impact does implementation of EE plans have in the medium to long-term for companies, in relation to workplace relations, skills development, productivity and other indicators? This study is based on an analysis of a range of documents and data, interviews with role players and in-depth case studies of firms and institutions in three industries (higher education, engineering and mining).

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