Towards a National Child Labour Action Programme for South Africa

Type Working Paper - Discussion Document
Title Towards a National Child Labour Action Programme for South Africa
Volume 11
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2002
Page numbers 1-54
The Constitution provides that children under 18 years should be protected against exploitative labour practices and work that is hazardous or harmful to their education, health or well-being, physical or mental health or spiritual, moral or social development. The task of coordinating an inter-departmental programme to address such labour practices and work has been delegated to the Department of Labour. Since 1995 the Department has taken a number of steps to achieve this aim, including a national survey of work-related activities of children. The survey helps our understanding of many of the different kinds of work activities that children engage in, and the possible hazards that they face in that respect. This discussion document is intended as an analysis of the situation of working children in South Africa, based on the survey and a wide range of qualitative research. It does not represent the official view of the Department of Labour or of the government, but is circulated for debate and to assist in the process towards drafting a final government policy paper, including a South African National Child Labour Action
Programme. The public in general, and a wide range of stakeholders in particular, will be consulted about this analysis with the aim, among others: To establish what kinds of work-related activities of children place them at risk; To assess the seriousness of that risk in different circumstances, including which forms of work are the most hazardous and should be stopped as a matter of priority; To identify the extent and causes of these different forms of child work and child labour in South Africa; To formulate a programme of action, identifying the most appropriate ways of addressing the detrimental forms of child work and labour. This consultation process will culminate in a policy paper, incorporating a Programme of Action to address detrimental forms of child work and labour. After a final stage of consultation, the Government will consider adopting the policy paper in this regard as Government policy. The term ‘child labour’ is reserved for child work that harms a child or poses a serious risk of harm. The discussion document does not identify or discuss in detail the kinds of policy measures that should be used to
address detrimental child work. This can be done only once there is sufficient consensus on what forms of work place children at risk. This will be done during the consultation process that will include the generation and discussion of policy options to address these forms. The discussion document therefore uses the term ‘child work’. Once national clarity is achieved regarding what kinds of work are harmful or pose serious risk of harm for children, such work will be referred to as ‘child labour’.

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