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Parliament - South Africa's affirmative action laws do not apply to foreigners working in the country, Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana said on Wednesday.
"Provisions are made in the regulations for employers to record and report on foreign nationals separately, however, they are not targeted for affirmative action," Mdladlana said in reply to a parliamentary question from the Inkatha Freedom Party.
The minister said the Employment Equity Act sought to eliminate discrimination and implement affirmative action measures to ensure the representation of black people, women and people with disabilities.
"The affirmative action part only applies to designated employers and individuals from the designated groups."
Mdladlana was also asked whether it was permissible for an employer to refuse to fill a post if a qualified white candidate had applied but there were no suitable black candidates.
"Where a South African black candidate is not available for a post, and if all things are equal, the South African white candidate should receive preference," he said.