Child labour in country investigated

The scourge of child labour in South Africa remains a concern despite a decrease in the number of children involved in labour activities.

A recent report by Survey of Activities of Young People (SAYP), showed that of the 1,12 million South African children between the ages of seven and 17 years, 577 000 were involved in child labour in 2015.

Results were released in March 2017 and indicated the number of children in child labour had decreased from 779 000 in 2010.

The survey showed that about 81 000 of the children involved in child labour appeared to be doing work prohibited by the Basic Conditions of Employment Act.

The report revealed that in 2015 more boys were engaged in economic activity (22,3%) compared with girls (20,9%).

In the case of both sexes a decrease was experienced ,with the largest among girls at 3,6 percentage points. Furthermore, it showed that several children involved in child labour were between the ages of 16 and 17 years, which is compliant with section 43 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, 1997.

Recent statistics by the International Labour Organization (ILO) reveal that worldwide 218 million children between five and 17 years are in employment.

Among them, 152 million are victims of child labour; almost half of them (73 million) work in hazardous child labour.

Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant reflected on child labour at the National Day Against Child Labour event held on 17 August at the Frikkie Cronje Stadium in Wesselsbron.

Josial Ramokoena, provincial spokesperson for the department, said Minister Oliphant reflected on government initiatives to halt the growing problem of child labour.

In attendance were representatives of the ILO, government departments, organised business and labour, as well as children.

“South Africa, as a member of the ILO, and in its commitment to eradicate the scourge of child labour, has signed a number of protocols. Some of these include the Minimum Age Convention 138 of 1973; and the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention 182 of 1999 and the African Charter of the Rights and Welfare of the Child, 1990,” said Ramokoena.