The Department of Employment and Labour has filed court papers against Huawei Technologies South Africa due to non-compliance with the employment equity policy.

In a statement on Friday, the department said Huawei Technologies South Africa was audited in 2020 and found to be non-compliant in that the company employs approximately 90% foreign nationals, violating 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% 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 said.

A subsequent meeting was then held between the Departments of Employment and Labour, Home Affairs, and Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC) to determine whether Huawei had committed any other violations of national laws administered by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition.

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 the case to court without further delay.

According to the department’s inspection and enforcement services that reviewed Huawei, the assessment report indicates that:

• At top management, Huawei has five employees, and all five (100%) are foreign nationals, and Huawei intends to keep this number for the next two years without employing any of the designated groups.

• At senior management, out of a total of 71 employees, 27 (38%) are foreign nationals, and Huawei is projecting to increase this number.

• Professionally qualified level, out of a total of 435 employees, 378 (87%) 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%) of the 181 employees are foreign nationals, with Huawei projecting an increase to 168 in the next two years.

• At the semi-skilled level, there is currently only 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 groups 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.”

Meanwhile, the department has reiterated that its Inspection and Enforcement Services (IES) will continue to protect vulnerable workers by inspecting and enforcing labour legislation.

It will also continue to ensure that decent work principles are followed by conducting compliance inspections as per the set annual target and serving 95% of non-compliant employers/workplaces/users inspected with a notice in accordance with relevant employment law within 14 calendar days of inspection.

Additionally, the department will ensure that a predetermined percentage of non-compliant employers/workplaces/users received by Statutory Services are referred for prosecution within 30 working days.

The Department remains 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.

Source: South African Government News Agency

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