How to set-up an Employment Equity Committee in the organisation

How to set-up an Employment Equity

How to set-up an Employment Equity Committee in the organisation

How to set-up an Employment Equity Committee in the organisation.

In this article, I’ll explain how to set-up the employment equity committee in an organisation based on a tried and tested method that we have been using for the last 20 years. The reason is establishing an employment equity committee in the organisation is probably one of the top ten issues we have encountered in organisations. So let’s do it and have a look at how to establish an employment equity committee in the organisation without going into a complete meltdown. 

To order to establish the Employment equity committee in terms of Section 24 of the Employment Equity Act,  the executive management of the organisation must first appoint the responsible person or the employment equity manager. The designation employment equity manager it is more indicative of the function, than the actual designation of the position. The process of appointment is usually done at board level, one or more of the directors or executive managers must be nominated board and have to accept the appointment in writing. The appointed employment equity manager will then appoint the rest of the employment equity committee members. 

How to: who is the Responsible Person or Employment Equity Manager.

In terms of the Employment Equity Act Section 24, the following people are considered the Responsible person(s) in the organisation, 

  • Appointed Managers

  • The CEO/ Owner

  • The financial manager

The appointment and subsequent acceptance of the responsible person must be done in writing. It is very important to note that the appointment letter can be rejected by the Department of Labour inspectors and they more often than not, reject the letters. They will force the organisation to replace the letter with their “own” version of the appointment letter which is usually completely twisted to basically create an organisation compliance order from the date of appointment. A copy is in our library. 

Letter of appointment.

The roles and responsibilities of the employment equity manager including the mandate to perform certain functions, allocate specific budgets and delivery time and date must be contained in the letter of appointment. This letter must be signed by the organisation representative and the appointed employment equity manager as acceptance of the roles and responsibilities.

The Employment Equity manager responsibilities are;

  1. Report employment equity progress to the CEO,

  2. Responsible for the implementation of the provisions of the Employment Equity Act. 

  3. Ensure fair and unbiased transformation.

  4. Appoint an inclusive employment equity committee or workers forum.

  5. Monitor, and guide departmental implementation of the Employment Equity plan.

  6. Chair all employment equity meetings.

  7. Approve the Employment Equity reports

  8. Approve a budget and time for the Employment Equity Committee.

How to: Appoint the Employment Equity Committee and Workplace forum.

In terms of the Labour Relations Act 1995 and Section 16 of the Employment Equity Act the organisation must appoint a workplace/force forum and employment equity forum. Once the employment equity manager has been appointed, the manager must consult with the workforce to elect an employment equity committee. 

The forum is responsible for transformation in the organisation. More information on the roles and responsibilities can be obtained from the Code of Good Practice on the Preparation, Implementation and Monitoring of EE Plan. The appointment and subsequent acceptance of the employment equity committee members must be done in writing. 

The Employment Equity Committee.

The following people must be represented on the committee. The same person may represent a Department and a specific level in the organisation.

  • 50% of men and 50% women

  • One person from each department in the organisation.

  • One person from Top, Senior, Professionally Qualified & Mid Management, Skilled Technical and Junior Management, Semi-Skilled, Unskilled and Union Rep.

One this that is very important to note is that the committee members may not consist of more unionised members than represented in the organisation. If there are more union members on the committee than what is represented in the company then this constitutes unfair discrimination against non-unionised employees.

The roles and responsibilities of the Employment Equity committee are:

  • Be competent in all matters relating to the Employment Equity Act.

  • Consult with employees.

  • Educate and train employees in equity and diversity.

  • Develop and implement the employment equity constitution.

  • Develop and implement all employment equity policies and procedures.

  • Analyse the workforce, prepare a transformation plan and develop an employment equity plan.

  • Monitor and report progress against BBBEE, EAP and the CEE targets.

  • Implement and monitor the employment equity plan.

  • Ensure full compliance with the employment equity Act and report all discrepancies.

  • Keep records of all meetings, registers, agendas and minutes

  • Implemented transformation.

By law, the forum must meet not less than 4 times annually to ascertain whether the organisation is still on track with its development and transformation.

Employee Explanation and Information.

The employment equity manager or managers must now bring all employees together and inform them of what is about to transpire. Employees need to be informed about the roles and responsibilities of the organisation in terms of the Employment Equity Act. The Manager must also ensure that the employees understand that if they accept their appointment to the Employment Equity Committee the will also be accepting the responsibilities, penalties and possible fines that go with the appointment. Usually, after finding out that they will be held accountable for their actions most employees will fake an injury like a soccer player, with several reasons whey can do it.

Time for elections.

This is usually where the paw-paw hits the fan in most organisations. According to the Act and Codes of Good Practice, the organisation must use an election process to select the forum. Basically, the employment equity manager must create a fully-fledged election process with, candidates, ballads officials and so on. The fun part is watching the process unfold and politicians emerge, o yes and often it turns into a massive ring kissing contest, with brown-nosing to the extreme. 

“Sex & Scandals”, and other dirty tricks.

The wonderful thing about elections is the myriad of dirty tricks and tactics used people to come up with ingenious ways of getting a seat a the table. The unions have been at this much longer than most organisations have been around and they are masters at manipulation. For unions to take over the committee it simply needs to “buy” employees that can be manipulated and are friendly to their cause. These are some of the better schemes to worm their way in…

  • Staging a protest to contest the candidates or process.

  • Proposing “disliked” candidates to run against their own candidate, making their candidate stronger by default.

  • Proposing their friendly minions with promises of advancement for all.

  • Planting condemning evidence against other candidates, like derogatory or racist, emails etc.

  • Intimidating co-workers into voting for specific friendlies.

  • Promising the moon and stars 

  • Rumours, rumours about office sex, cults, illegitimate children, wife-beating whatever they can get their hands on.

  • Double voting, or adding unknown unselected employees to the ballads.

  • Stealing and copying ballad papers and making fake votes.

  • Slander and ridiculing stronger candidates.

  • Electronic toilet paper -Email, WhatsApp, Sms other messages to employees.

  • Photoshop and Facebook make a wonderful mix to stir up rumours.

  • Spreading “ridiculous” promises under the names of other candidates.

  • Wrongly sent “To” emails- containing damaging or incriminating information about a particular candidate.

  • Spying on selected employees to “catch” them.

  • Interfering with the voting process

These are just some of the dirty trick pulled off by employees, the list goes on and on. So the closer to the election the worse it will get.

Appointment Time.

Care must be taken to ensure that the specific levels, departments and union rations are observed, failure to do so can lead to long term problems between the employees and management.

After the elections and the accusations of corruption, it is time to appoint the elected committee members, using the committee letters of appointment. The Committee letters of appointment are a watered-down simpler version of the Equity manager letter of appointment.  

Scheduling the 1st meeting. 

Within 7 days after the committee appoint meant the Equity manager must schedule the first meeting and implement the training and other procedures as required by the Act.


The appointment of the Equity manager and committee usually takes 2 months, during this time the employees will scramble for position and some nasty personal traits will surface, as the union and other influencers try to take over the committee. It is up to the management of the organisation to keep things calm and in perspective. 

Sometimes it helps to take a breather from the shenanigans by calling for a cease-fire and postponement for a week or two to bring to task those individuals who are disruptive and dishonest. At the end of the day, some employees must be informed and understand that being on the committee doesn’t mean you run the company. 

Find more information on how to implement employment equity in my other articles or visit our website to enrol for the next employment equity training course.


Stephan du Toit

Stephan du Toit

Senior Advisor Employment Equity. Specialist in emergency Employment Equity and Labour compliance for organisations. Find more information on implementing employment equity in my other articles or visit our website to enroll for the next employment equity training course.

Are you having difficulty with employment equity? Please don't hesitate to contact me.

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