The Department of Employment and Labour filed papers in court on Friday against Huawei Technologies South Africa.
“Huawei Technologies South Africa was audited in 2020 and found to be non-compliant in that they employ approximately 90% foreign nationals, which violates the Employment Equity Policy (EAP),” said the department in a statement.
Huawei’s legal department had contacted the department in an attempt to reach an amicable resolution.
When asked about why Huawei hired 90% foreigners, the legal representative allegedly stated that Huawei was granted permission by the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) to employ the number of foreign nationals that they do.
“In investigating this matter, we worked with DHA to determine whether DHA had granted Huawei a permit to employ more than 40% foreign nationals, as required by the Immigration Regulations.
“It was discovered that Huawei was granted a permit in accordance with the provisions of the Immigration Regulations that required them to employ 60% South Africans and 40% foreign nationals,” said the Labour Department.
Another meeting between the Departments of Employment and Labour, Home Affairs, and Trade and Industry took place to determine whether Huawei had committed other violations.
“Now the department has determined that its cause of action is clear and that all transgressions have been committed, and to refer this case to court without further delay on the grounds stated below.”
The department’s inspection and enforcement services reviewed Huawei, and the assessment report shows that Huawei’s top five management are foreigners.
Huawei allegedly intends to keep this number for the next two years without employing any of the designated groups.
At least 38% of its senior management are foreign nationals and, according to the Department of Employment and Labour, Huawei is allegedly preparing to increase this number.
On the professionally qualified level, 87% (378 out of 435 employees) are foreign nationals and the department alleges that Huawei wants to increase the number to 405 within the next two years. The department is also alleging that there are now plans to improve the employment of locals.
Also, 76% of skilled-technical employees (138 out of 181) are foreign nationals, and Huawei allegedly wants to raise that number to 168 in the next two years.
There’s only one semi-skilled level employee, but the department alleges Huawei wants to bring in another 11 foreigners without plans to beef up hiring on a local level.
“The department would like to exercise caution and send a strong message to other employers who do not comply with employment equity policies that the department is on their tail and consequences will be incurred if non-compliance is discovered.”
“The department’s Inspection and Enforcement Services (IES) will continue conducting compliance inspections as per the set annual target and serving 95% of non-compliant employers/workplaces/users inspected with a notice in accordance with relevant employment law within 14 calendar days of inspection,” it said.
Huawei was asked to respond to the allegations but had not replied to the Citizen’s questions by the time of publishing. This article will be updated if this is received.
Compiled by Narissa Subramoney