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Ntando Thukwana | 10 May 2023

Bank strongly denies being issued any notice of non-compliance by the labour department.

Big six bank Absa, cited for not complying with some of South Africa’s employment equity laws, has insisted it was never issued a verdict of non-compliance and says it is fully compliant.

Responding to Moneyweb, the bank strongly denied to having been issued findings in any form, of non-compliance by the Department of Labour.

“Absa states categorically that it is fully compliant with South Africa’s employment equity laws,” the bank said in its response.

“No verdict, court order, or other finding of non-compliance has been issued against Absa, and no action, application or other proceedings have been instituted against Absa in any court or other forum, in this regard,” it added.

Absa’s response is despite the Labour Department’s contrasting views.

On Wednesday, Department of Labour chief director of statutory and advocacy services Fikisawa Mncanca-Bede, reiterated to Moneyweb that Absa had been issued a verdict of non-compliance with employment equity laws.

The bank, together with peers, Standard Bank and FNB were found wanting in relation to hiring people from ‘designated groups’.

According to South African laws, designated groups including black people, women, and people with disabilities.

“Absa was put under monitoring for the implementation of its Employment Equity Plan and was found non-compliant in terms of achieving its targets,” Mncanca-Bede said.

“The confirmatory notice was issued in March last year informing them of their transgressions and that the matter will be referred to the Labour court,” she said.

Affirmative action

Mncanca-Bede previously said the biggest issue was in the affirmative action area, an employment policy that seeks to give previously disadvantaged groups equal opportunities.

According to the department, the three banks have not been fully complying with the latest employment equity rules, introduced in 2018. As a result, they are not compliant with Section 20 (subsection 2) of SA’s Employment Equity Act.

Absa said it has made reasonable and significant progress in transforming its organisation over the past few years, in its efforts achieve employment equity.

“We will continue to drive these efforts in line with our ambition to be the undisputed leader in transformation in the financial services industry,” it declared.

“We are pursuing this journey with speed, as demonstrated by the 2022 changes in our top leadership structures, which resulted in the improved representation of black and women employees,” Absa said.

The bank pointed out that 60% of its workforce is made up of women, adding that it focuses on sustaining a culture of inclusion where its employees have a sense of belonging.

It said African, Indian and Coloured employees represents 79% of its total workforce in South Africa.

‘Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER’.


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