SA HR news roundup: Report to bring GBV into the private sector spotlight

Department of Labour to vet all work visas, according to amended regulations.

HR needs to be trained to pick up on gender-based violence, says co-author of a soon-to-be-released report that the impact of GBV on business, and Vodacom’s #CodeLikeAGirl initiative celebrates five years of existence. Meanwhile, the Department of Employment and Labour plans to vet all work visa applications and the Department of Higher Education and Training calls on employers to embrace TVET students.

Government calls on business to hire TVET students

Higher Education and Training Minister, Dr Blade Nzimande, has called on all employers to open their workplaces for the placement of Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) college students.

Speaking at a Ministerial Summit on Strategic Industry Partnerships with TVET Colleges, he noted that the expansion of workplace-based learning opportunities for students has proven to be a challenge in the TVET college sector.

“The primary aim of placements is to assist the transition of our young people from learning to working,” Nzimande said.

The private sector and GBV

Tiekie Barnard, chief executive of the African chapter of Shared Value Africa Initiative (SVAI), says that “the private sector is a powerful partner in advancing gender equality at work, due to its distinctive position as a catalyst and role model for change”.

Barnard, along with associate professor for strategic communication at the University of Johannesburg, Corné Davis, will soon release The Costly Impact of GBV: Private Sector Perceptions and Realities in South Africa report, that looks at the private sector and GBV.

“GBV is not only a societal issue, it is also a business issue that has and will continue to negatively impact our economy if we do not consciously address it,” says Tiekie.

From a business perspective, she adds, “you cannot operate at an optimum productivity level if you are a victim of gender-based violence”.

“[Human resources] need to be trained to pick up on those symptoms,” she says.

#CodeLikeAGirl celebrates five-year anniversary

#CodeLikeAGirl was launched in 2017 in Tembisa, Johannesburg with 20 girls. In this financial year, sponsor Vodacom aims to train 1,500 young girls in coding, bringing the total number of girls trained to 4,000.

Speaking at the five-year celebration event, Njabulo Mashigo, human resources director for Vodacom South Africa, said: “The gender disparity in STEM is alarming, especially since these are the jobs of the future. By teaching high school girls how to code, we’re opening their eyes to sequential thinking around problem-solving, and stimulating creativity and design skills.”

DEL to vet work visas

The Department of Employment and Labour (DEL) has published an annexure to the country’s immigration regulations, which ensures that all work visa applications are vetted by the department first.

The new annexure clarifies “uncertainty” about the DEL’s involvement in the visa application process, now making it a critical step, said Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr.

At a recent Xpatweb conference, the Department of Home Affairs said that it has the mandate to address immigration in South Africa and urged employers to ensure that all expatriate staff are in possession of legally obtained and issued work visas.