Challenges facing the implementation of the employment equity act in public FET colleges in the Western Cape
The apartheid system caused severe pain, injustice and financial loss to the majority of South African people. To redress the aftereffects of racial discrimination in the workplace, the Employment Equity Act (EEA) of 1998 was established. While there is some research on the challenges of implementing the EEA legislation in universities, there is a paucity of research on the difficulties faced by Further Education and Training (FET) Colleges. The purpose of this research project was to investigate the extent to which the EEA has been implemented in public FET Colleges located in the Western Cape Province, with the specific objective of identifying possible barriers to the implementation of the EEA in these Colleges. The research question was: What types of challenges1, or barriers (if any), exist in the implementation of the EEA in public FET Colleges in the Western Cape? This study is informed by critical social theory. The design of research in this study is both qualitative and quantitative. Data were collected from Deputy Chief Executive Officers (Corporate Services), Human Resources Managers and Campus Heads from each of the four Colleges. Semi-structured, open-ended interviews and documentary analysis were used. Data were analysed quantitatively and qualitatively. Four of the six FET Colleges in the Western Cape Province were selected on the basis of their geographical location and the diversity of their personnel. Results revealed that in public FET Colleges in the Western Cape, white males and coloured females dominate top management positions. Data further showed that the Indian group is the least represented at both top and bottom levels of these FET Colleges. Although white females are fewer than their coloured female counterparts in top positions, they are nonetheless more than double the number of their black female counterparts. These results have serious implications for implementation of EEA legislation in general, and in the Western Cape specifically.