Huawei South Africa and labour department settle over employment violations

Huawei Technologies South Africa has agreed to employ more than 50% South Africans within three years.

That forms part of an out-of-court settlement with the Department of Employment and Labour after alleging that Huawei was transgressing South Africa’s employment equity laws. 

The department’s 2019 audit of Huawei’s business in South Africa uncovered that it was employing around 90% foreign nationals, violating the country’s Employment Equity Policy.

The labour department previously claimed that the DHA had granted Huawei a permit under South Africa’s immigration regulations that required it to employ 60% South Africans and 40% foreign nationals.

It subsequently applied to the Labour Court on 11 February 2022 to have Huawei held to account for its violation. 

A few weeks after this, Huawei said it had entered negotiations with the department over the issue, hoping to keep it out of court.

Huawei Menlyn Store (2)
Huawei opens a store in Menlyn Mall, Pretoria, in 2019.

In a joint statement on the settlement, the parties explained Huawei would focus on designated groups as defined in the Employment Equity Act as part of its 50% South African employment requirement.

In addition, it will collaborate with the department on a development programme focussed on equipping youth in the country with digital and ICT skills.

“The Development Programme, which includes internships, aligns with the duration of the employment equity plan period, and will draw on candidates from the designated groups, especially women and those from rural areas, sourced from the department’s database,” the statement said. 

The department and Huawei have expressed mutual satisfaction with the outcome of the negotiations. 

“The parties see this as a win-win, as it fosters a public and private partnership that facilitates the transfer of skills, while also addressing the issue of unemployment by creating jobs in the ICT sector,” said the department’s chief director for statutory and advocacy services, Fikiswa Bede. 

Now read: Goodbye copper — Huawei launches 1Gbps Wi-Fi “anywhere in the house”

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Huawei South Africa and labour department settle over employment violations