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Govt proposes amendment to company law to tackle pay injustice

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In his budget vote speech on Tuesday, Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel said research had revealed that more than 230,000 workers owned shares in about 50 companies, but more needed to be done.

Minister Ebrahim Patel. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

THE GOVERNMENT has proposed a further amendment to company law in a bid to tackle the gross injustice of excessive pay and give workers representation to boost inclusive growth.

In his budget vote speech on Tuesday, Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel said research had revealed that more than 230,000 workers owned shares in about 50 companies, but more needed to be done.

Patel said the government must build a new model of growth and economic inclusion that unites South Africans in the economy and promotes transformation.

He said the government needed to step up policies that actively promoted worker ownership of shares in firms and representation of workers on corporate boards, as well as support for broad-based ownership vehicles in the economy.

He said his department would finalise a bill to amend the 2008 Companies Act within the next three months, in order to tackle the gross injustice of excessive pay and give voice to workers.

The bill would require disclosure of wage differentials in companies, stronger governance on excessive director pay, and enhanced transparency on ownership and financial records.

“This is an important way in which we can create meaningful economic inclusion. This can be the new frontier of economic empowerment,” Patel said.

“First, we must build a new model of growth and economic inclusion that unites South Africans in the economy and promotes transformation.”

Patel announced a set of ambitious goals for his department to speed up economic recovery.

He said that the future strategic focus of his department involved galvanising inclusive growth and building local industrial capacity.

Patel said the 3 percent growth forecast for the year would need to be stepped up in order to effect a full economic recovery.

He said his department would enhance the connection between policy and implementation, through transformation, local production, growing exports, increasing investment, and expanding the green economy.

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