Critical comment

Cape Chamber puts Parliament on blast

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The Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry says,"It is time Parliament stopped wasting time on unrealistic legislation like the Women Empowerment and Gender Equality Bill and dealt with the real problems of the country such as the economy and unemployment among the youth.

“It is simply not possible to force departments and companies to fill half of the top positions with women at this time, as the Bill requires,” said Ms Janine Myburgh, President of the Chamber.

“In the mining, engineering and construction industries more than 90 percent of those employed are men so it will be an impossible task to find the qualified women to fill half the management jobs in these major industries, without significant intervention at a skills and training level” she said.

Ms Myburgh said the Chamber fully supported Busa’s criticism of the Bill. Busa also described the legislation as unrealistic, pointed out that it overlapped other legislation and was probably unconstitutional.

She said Parliament should understand that in our democracy people had the right to choose their own career paths and it was natural that some careers would be more appealing to women than to men and vice versa.

She went on to say that in order to rectify the gender imbalance in certain professions, intervention needed to happen at an early education stage and in an holistic fashion along with social re-engineering.

The role of the legislator was to remove barriers to advancement and not to introduce quota systems and all the bureaucracy and inefficiency that goes with them. “This country needs to get down to business and not invent new ways to interfere” Ms Myburgh said.

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