JOHANNESBURG – Due to non-compliance with employment equity policy, the Department of Employment and Labour filed papers in court Friday, February 11, 2022, against Huawei Technologies South Africa.
Huawei Technologies South Africa was audited in 2020 and found to be non-compliant in that they employ approximately 90% foreign nationals, which violates the Employment Equity Policy (EAP).
Huawei’s Legal Department contacted the Department in an attempt to reach an amicable resolution. When asked about the 90 percent Foreign National employment, the Legal person stated that Huawei was granted permission by the Department of Home Affairs (“DHA”) to employ the number of Foreign Nationals they do.
“In investigating this matter, we worked with DHA to determine whether DHA had granted Huawei a permit to employ more than 40% foreign nationals, as required by the Immigration Regulations. It was discovered that Huawei was granted a permit in accordance with the provisions of the Immigration Regulations that required them to employ 60% South Africans and 40% foreign nationals,” the Department of Employment and Labour said.
A subsequent meeting was held between the Departments of Employment and Labour, Home Affairs, and Trade and Industry to determine whether Huawei had committed any other violations of national laws administered by the Department of Trade and Industry.
As a result, the Department has determined that its cause of action is clear and that all transgressions have been committed, and it has decided to refer this case to court without further delay on the grounds stated below.
The Department’s inspection and enforcement services reviewed Huawei, and the assessment report indicates that; at Top Management, Huawei has 5 employees, and all 5 (100 percent) are Foreign nationals, and Huawei intends to keep this number for the next two years without employing any of the Designated groups; and at Senior Management, out of a total of 71 employees, 27 (38 percent) are Foreign nationals, and Huawei is projecting to increase this number.
Professionally Qualified level, out of a total of 435 employees, 378 (87 percent) are foreign nationals and still Huawei projects to increase the number to 405 in the next two years without any projections for increase for the designated groups.
At the Skilled-Technical level, 138 (76 percent) of the 181 employees are foreign nationals, with Huawei projecting an increase to 168 in the next two years; and at the Semi-Skilled level, there is currently only 1 (one) employee at this level, who is a foreign national, with Huawei projecting an increase to 11 in the next two years without any designated group being employed.
The Department would like to exercise caution and send a strong message to other employers who do not comply with employment equity policies that the Department is on their tail and consequences will be incurred if non-compliance is discovered.
The Department’s Inspection and Enforcement Services (IES) will continue to protect vulnerable workers by inspecting and enforcing labour legislation, ensuring that decent work principles are followed by conducting compliance inspections as per the set annual target and serving 95 percent of non-compliant employers/workplaces/users inspected with a notice in accordance with relevant employment law within 14 calendar days of inspection.
Additionally, ensuring that a predetermined percentage of non-compliant employers, workplaces, users received by Statutory Services are referred for prosecution within 30 working days.
Each year, the Department hosts seminars and formal advocacy on Occupational Health and Safety, Employment Standards and Occupational Health and Safety; Occupational Health and Safety and Employment Standards and Employment Standards to raise awareness of employment law. These are spread amongst the four quarters of a fiscal year.
The President highlighted the following broad themes in his 2021 State of the Nation Address (SONA): Defeating COVID-19; Social and Economic Relief; Economic Reconstruction and Recovery. Through the implementation of its programmes, the IES plays both a direct and indirect role in the aforementioned; advocacy, inspections, and enforcement are driving forces.
The Department said it remain committed to achieving decent work by regulating non-employment and employment conditions through inspection and enforcement in order to achieve compliance with all labour market policies.
The Department of Employment and Labour is a government department that is hard at work; striving for a labour market that is conducive to investment, economic growth, employment creation and decent work.