By Nqobile Dludla
JOHANNESBURG. (Returns) – South Africa’s labor department is negotiating a possible out-of-court settlement with a subsidiary of China’s Huawei, which it accuses of failing to meet local hiring quotas, a government official told Returnos.
Authorities took Huawei to court this month, saying the company had failed to meet the requirement that 60% of workers be South Africans.
Huawei confirmed that it has entered into negotiations to reach a settlement and that the court case has been put on hold until a result.
The company declined to address the allegations, stating that it could not comment on an ongoing legal matter.
Citing a 2020 audit, the labor department said foreigners make up nearly 90% of Huawei’s workforce in South Africa.
The labor department submitted to the court what it said was the revised 2020-2022 hiring plan the company was expected to draft.
The document showed that the company planned to hire 44 South Africans, about 60% of the hirings projected for the period. This would result in a workforce consisting of 652 foreigners and 112 locals by September 2022.
The plan says the company will “ensure that effective recruitment takes place” and added that it will seek to train and promote South Africans and members of disadvantaged groups to senior positions.
In a separate letter sent to the department in February 2021, Huawei Technologies South Africa explained that its foreign workers were needed to ensure the deployment of cutting-edge technologies, including 5G, artificial intelligence and robotic process automation.
The company did not file any documents with the court in response to the lawsuit before the settlement negotiations began.
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