An evaluation of the implementation of the employment equity act in the employment of academic staff in higher education insitutions in KwaZulu Natal.
Mthanti, Bawinile Winnie Joyce.
MetadataShow full item record
This study examines the reasons why South African higher education institutions are still faced with major discrimination against black women, black people in general and people with disabilities. The study was prompted by the recognition that there is a discrepancy between the national employment policies and their interpretation and implementation in public higher education institutions. The study explores the implementation of the Employment Equity Act (EEA) in the employment of academic staff in higher education institutions (HEIs) in KwaZulu Natal (KZN). Historically, in the South African context, the issues of gender and race are closely interwoven. For this reason, it is impossible to consider gender issues without reference to race. Further, the broad principle of employment equity is that the workplace should reflect diverse groups within the population. In recent years the greatest publicity and attention has been given to issues of representivity in terms of race and gender, and only now are people with disabilities being given rightful access to workplace opportunities. One of the aims of the study is to examine the gap between policy formulation and policy implementation. Linked to this is the tension between national policies and institutional policies. The purpose of this study is to evaluate and assess the implementation of the Employment Equity Act in the appointment and promotion of academic staff in higher education institutions in KwaZulu Natal. The study was carried out in HEIs in KZN. Only universities and technikons were included in this study. Out of seven higher education institutions in KwaZulu Natal, five were selected. These are: University of Durban Westville (UDW), University of Natal (NU), University of Zululand (UniZul), Technikon Mangosuthu (Mantec) and the Durban Institute of Technology (DIT). University of South Africa (UNISA) (Durban branch) and Technikon South Africa (TSA) (Durban Branch) will be excluded from the survey simple because their head offices are out of the KwaZulu Natal region. Ten questionnaires were distributed to each higher education institution in KwaZulu Natal to be filled by two Vice Principals (who were selected randomly), two Deans of faculties (who were randomly selected), Director Human Resources, four Heads of Departments (academics selected randomly) and an Employment Equity manager. In total fifty questionnaires were distributed to the above-mentioned institutions. The key informants in this study were equity managers of each institution. Upon review of the interview transcripts it emerged that Employment Equity Act strategies were recognized as another vehicle of managing employees fairly and equally. Out of five transcripts analysed, three institutions accepted the Employment Equity Act and its strategies and two institutions interpreted the Employment Equity Act as another form of reverse discrimination against non-designated groups. From this study it appeared that in some institutions an attempt to implement an employment equity plan was made, but through lack of support from certain individuals from non-designated groups and lack of management support, the plans died a natural death. The study recommended that once the Employment Equity manager had been appointed or seconded she/he must immediately be relieved from his/her original duties so as to concentrate fully on employment equity issues. The study further recommended that intensive awareness programmes on the Employment Equity Act implications be emphasised especially to line managers. The Employment Equity Plan drawn must not be kept on shelves, but be communicated to everyone, especially the line managers.