A descriptive analysis of the perception and attitude of staff on employment equity in the City of Cape Town Health Directorate

Isaaks, Ruberto Carlo (2008-03)

Thesis (MPA (School of Public Management and Planning))--Stellenbosch University, 2008.

Thesis

South Africa comes from an apartheid local government system that was structured to divide citizens socially, economically, spatially, and racially to ensure that only a small minority of South Africans benefited from development. However since 1994 with the democratisation of our country, local government departments have undergone a number of transformation processes, which saw the country steadily moving away from the apartheid local government system. Representation is one of the main foundations of a non-racist, non-sexist and democratic society and achieving it is regarded as a necessary precondition to legitimise the public service to drive it towards equitable service delivery. The most prominent response to achieve a representative public service was the Employment Equity Act (No 55 of 1998), which became operational on 9 August 1999. Essentially the Act calls for a complete prohibition of unfair discrimination against all employees and requires that all designated employers undertake affirmative action measures to ensure that suitably qualified people from designated groups have equal employment opportunities. There are therefore many arguments in favour of AA and many against it, making it a formidable and complex task, especially in the South African context. However it is important to understand the reason for enactment of employment equity legislation in the workplace in terms of South Africa‟s history of discrimination and the resultant inequalities. The manner in which employment equity and affirmative action is introduced and handled in the organization can have a great influence on the perception and attitude of staff towards the topic. It therefore becomes imperative to grasp the understanding of staff on employment equity and related issues to measure if any progress was made and how to possibly improve on present practices in the organisation. Against this background this study investigated the perception and attitude of the City of Cape Town Health staff towards employment equity. The requirements of the EEA were discussed and used as the benchmark for success of implementation. The study included the review of relevant secondary sources of information but primary data was also obtained through the use of questionnaires comprising of semi structured questions to achieve this objective. The main findings from the secondary data revealed that AA is still necessary as a corrective tool, because our playing fields are far from leveled, however the reality is we have a great shortage of skills that is impacting on our global competitiveness which calls for a shift in thinking regarding the government‟s present approach. 4 In addition the research also identified as a designated employer, the City of Cape Town has fulfilled the legislative requirements, in that all its policies are consistent with the requirements of the EEA. The main findings of the primary data obtained from the questionnaires recognized that senior management of the City Health directorate is committed to EE, but falls short of an effective communication plan regarding the relevant issues of EE, there is little focus on disabled appointments and many employees indicated other criteria outside 'suitably qualified' (as defined in the EEA) plays a large role in the promotion of employees.

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