Marais to challenge equity quotas’

Posted January 31, 2011

By Babalo Ndenze

Former Western Cape premier Peter Marais is demanding to meet President Jacob Zuma to challenge proposed changes to some of the country’s labour laws – but has ruled out a return to politics.

Marais, who joined Cope soon after its formation but has left the party, says he has started a petition to have provincial quotas left out of the Employment Equity Act as the proposed change would have negative implications for the coloured community.

He said he and leaders in the coloured community wanted to meet Zuma before the local government elections to discuss the proposed changes to the act, which would dispose of provincial quotas for affirmative action.

One of three proposed amendments to the Employment Equity Act says affirmative action should focus on South African citizens and that national demographics, rather than provincial population profiles, should be used to gauge employee representation.

Marais said taking away provincial quotas would be unfair to people in the Western Cape and Northern Cape, where coloured people were in the majority. He said the time was “right” to move away from racial quotas.

“This is racial criteria of 40 years ago like the National Party’s. We must compete on merit for jobs. South Africa needs quality people who can build this country. That’s what we need. This (amendment) makes sure that all jobs are in black han… This is unfair towards all races.” – Cape Times

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