The National Child Labour Action Programme for South Africa

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The National

Child Labour

Action Programme

for South Africa
Final Draft for consideration by government departments and other stakeholders

Draft 4.10, October 2003

Draft 4.1 of this document was provisionally approved by a broad forum of stakeholders, including representatives of many government departments, on 4 September 2003. The approval was subject to a few changes and further consultation with key stakeholders, due to have been held on their request. Various stakeholders engaged with the drafters after that date, and amendments were made to the document to address their inputs.

This draft 4.10 is now submitted to government for its final internal approval process and to other stakeholders for their final mandate seeking processes.
October 2003

Prepared for the Department of Labour

Private Bag X117

0001 Pretoria

South Africa

Fax to (012) 309-4709; or

Email: AND

This and other related documents and links are available or should be available soon at (then follow the links to ‘Child labour documents’)

Produced in cooperation with International Labour Organisation (ILO)

International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC)

ILO Area Office, P O Box 11694, Hatfield 0028

Tel (012) 431-8800 / Fax (012) 431-8859

Abbreviations used 3

Executive Summary 4

Chapter 1 . Introduction 7

1.1 The need for a Child Labour Action Programme 7

1.2 Other international instruments 8

1.3 Process followed in preparing this draft CLAP 9

1.4 Finalisation of the policy process 11

1.5 Format for policy steps discussed in this paper 12

Chapter 2 . The problem 13

2.1 The work children do 13

2.2 Worst Forms of Child Labour 16

Chapter 3 . The initial policy response 17

3.1 Legal provisions on child labour 17

3.2 Child welfare 19

3.3 Schooling 20

3.4 Commercial sexual exploitation of children 20

3.5 Children involved in illegal work-related activities 21

Chapter 4 . Introducing policy proposals 24

4.1 Principles of the Child Labour Action Programme 24

4.2 Types of work to be addressed by the policy 25

4.3 Supporting action through ILO funding 26

4.4 Addressing poverty and impoverishment 27

4.5 Impact of HIV/AIDS on child labour 29

4.6 Focus on 'hot spots', such as ex-'homelands' 29

4.7 Prevention of child labour 30

4.8 Considering child labour in other policies 30

4.9 General measures required from the Department of Labour 30

4.10 Social welfare grants 31

4.11 Identification of children needing assistance 32

4.12 Public awareness-raising 32

4.13 Training and capacity building 33

4.14 Provision of childcare facilities 34

4.15 Monitoring and evaluation of actions taken 35

4.16 Overseeing the CLAP process 36

4.17 Regular reporting on the CLAP process 36

Chapter 5 . Proposed action – by type of work 37

5.1 Bonded labour and servitude 37

5.2 Trafficking of children 38

5.3 Commercial sexual exploitation of children 41

5.4 Children used for illegal activities, including drug trafficking 43

5.5 Collecting fuel and water 46

5.6 Paid domestic work 50

5.7 Household chores 51

5.8 Commercial agriculture 52

5.9 Subsistence agriculture 54

5.10 Retail and related 56

5.11 Scavenging and recycling rubbish 58

5.12 Begging 59

5.13 Performing arts 59

Chapter 6 . Proposed action – by forms of harm 60

6.1 Work detrimental to schooling 60

6.2 Hazardous work and health and safety 63

Chapter 7 . Proposed action – by circumstances increasing likelihood of harm 71

7.1 HIV/AIDS 71

7.2 Types of adult work that encourages child labour 73

7.3 Children working on the streets 74

7.4 Refugee children 75

7.5 Illegal immigrant children 76

Annexure A: Action Steps Listed per Institution 77

1. Business / employers 77

2. Department of Agriculture and Department of Land Affairs (DA / DLA) 77

3. Department of Communications (DC) 78

4. Department of Correctional Services (DCS) 78

5. Department of Education & provincial departments responsible for education (DrE) 78

6. Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) 81

7. Department of Health (DH) 82

8. Department of Home Affairs (DHA) 83

9. Department of Justice & Constitutional Development (DJ) 84

10. Department of Labour (DL) 86

11. Department of Minerals & Energy (DME) 90

12. Department of Provincial & Local Government (DPLG) 91

13. Department of Public Works (DPW) 91

14. Department of Social Development & provincial departments (DrSD) 92

15. Department Trade and Industry (DTI) 96

16. Department of Transport (DT) 96

17. Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF) 97

18. Employment Conditions Commission (ECC) 97

19. Local Government (LG) & Prov. Depts. responsible for LG (PDLG) 97

20. National Prosecuting Authority (NProsAuth) 99

21. National Programme of Action for Children in South Africa (NPA) 99

22. National Treasury (NT) 100

23. NGO’s & Other 101

24. Provincial Premier’s Offices (PPO) 102

25. Research Institutions (RI) 102

26. South African Law Reform Commission (SALRC) 103

27. South African Police Services (SAPS) 103

28. Statistics SA (StatsSA) 105

29. Trade unions (TU) 105

Annexure B: Institutions consulted 107

1. National Government 107

2. Provincial Government 107

3. Parliament 108

4. Local Government 108

5. Trade Unions / Employer Organisations / Business 108

6. NGOs and similar 108

7. Other 111

Annexure C:
List of Schools that participated in the policy process 112

Annexure D:

Project Document for ILO Funding 113

Abbreviations used

AgriSA Agri South Africa

BCEA Basic Conditions of Employment Act

CLAP Child Labour Action Programme

CSEC Commercial sexual exploitation of children

CSG Child Support Grant

DA Department of Agriculture

DC Department of Communications

DCS Department of Correctional Services

DE Department of Education

DFA Department of Foreign Affairs

DH Department of Health

DHA Department of Home Affairs

DJ Department of Justice & Constitutional Development

DL Department of Labour

DLA Department of Land Affairs

DME Department of Minerals and Energy

DPLG Department of Provincial and Local Government

DPW Department of Public Works

DrA# Departments responsible for agriculture (national and provincial)

DrE# Departments responsible for education (national and provincial)

DrSD# Departments responsible for social services to children (national and provincial)

DSD Department of Social Development

DT Department of Transport

DTI Department of Trade and Industry

DWAF Department of Water Affairs and Forestry

ECC Employments Conditions Commission

EU European Union

GTZ Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH

ILO International Labour Organisation

ILO funding - Funding though the ILO funded Time-Bound Programme (see 4.2)

IOM International Organisation on Migration

JCPS cluster – Justice and correctional services cluster of government departments

LG Local government

NProsAuth National Prosecuting Authority

NEDLAC National Economic, Development and Labour Council

NGOs Non-governmental organisations

NPA National Programme of Action for Children in South Africa, coordinated from the President's Offices

NT National Treasury

PDLA Provincial departments responsible for local government

PPO Provincial Premiers' Offices

RI Research institutions

SALRC South African Law Reform Commission

SAPS SA Police Service / Department of Safety & Security

SARS South African Revenue Services

SAYP Survey of Activities of Young People

SDC Swiss Development Corporation

Sida Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency

SOCA Sexual Offences and Community Affairs Unit of the National Directorate of Public Prosecutions

StatsSA Statistics South Africa

SWEAT Sex Workers Education Advocacy Task Force

TU Trade union

UNDP United Nations Development Programme

UNESCO United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation

UNICEF United Nations Children’s Funds

USAID United Stated Agency for International Development

WFCL Worst Forms of Child Labour

# 'Departments responsible for' in the above list means national and provincial departments sharing the responsibility for the relevant line function. These are usually where the Constitution specifies that the given function is a concurrent one between national and provincial government.

Executive Summary

The Constitution provides that children under 18 have a right to be protected from work that is exploitative, hazardous or otherwise inappropriate for their age, detrimental to their schooling, or detrimental to their social, physical, mental, spiritual or moral development (s 28). The term 'work' is not limited to work in so-called economic activities (e.g. paid employment) but includes chores or household activities in the child's household (such as collecting wood and fuel), where such work is exploitative, hazardous, inappropriate for their age or detrimental to their development. The term 'child labour' as used in the Child Labour Action Programme (CLAP) covers all such forms of child work.

South Africa has ratified the ILO Minimum Age for Admission to Employment Convention of 1973. This Convention requires of ratifying states to pursue a national policy designed to ensure the effective abolition of child labour and to raise progressively the minimum age for admission to employment or work. South Africa also assisted in drafting the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention (1999), which it ratified in 2000. In terms of this convention South Africa must take time-bound measures to eliminate the worst forms of child labour (WFCL). These include forms of bonded labour, commercial sexual exploitation of children, trafficking of children, and the use of children by others in illegal activities, including drug trafficking.

The Government of South Africa has for the past seven years been involved in a process towards the formulation of appropriate policies and a national action programme to combat child labour. The Department of Labour is the lead department in the process.

The South African Government has a wide range of existing programmes that are directly and indirectly improving the situation of children. Many are aimed at addressing poverty, for example, the public works programmes, the provision of basic infrastructure, access to basic services and the roll out of social grants that benefit children. The programmes are funded for the most part from the government budget. The CLAP is intended to complement and strengthen the existing programmes where they are not adequately preventing child labour.

The first step in the development of the South African CLAP was the establishment of a reliable and credible database on child work in the country. In 1999, Statistics South Africa conducted the first national household-based survey of child work in South Africa, the Survey of Activities of Young People (SAYP). The official results of the SAYP were released in October 2002. The survey provides a national, quantitative picture of child work in the country and gives an indication of the different categories of working children who are most in need or who are at the greatest risk of exploitation in work and employment.

In addition to the SAYP, as part of the development of the CLAP, all known qualitative research conducted within South Africa on areas relevant to this policy was reviewed. This review was used, in particular, to inform those elements of the policy that deal with forms of work and employment that survey methodologies cannot address.

The SAYP and review of qualitative research confirmed that South Africa does not seem to have as serious a problem in regard to child labour as some other countries. In particular, the extent of child labour in the formal sectors of the economy is limited. However, the SAYP also confirmed that there indeed are children in the country who are doing unacceptable amounts of work, or work of an unacceptable nature. South Africa clearly needs to address these if it is to fulfil its commitment in terms of the Constitution and international conventions. Addressing the problems sooner rather than later should also help to avoid their multiplying and becoming more serious and difficult to address in the future.

Following the process of gathering information, the Government of South Africa began formulating appropriate policies and a national action programme to combat child labour. This was done through a process of extensive consultation with the South African public and engagement with key stakeholders. Stakeholders consulted included government departments, organised labour, organised business and relevant non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

The consultation process included focus groups with affected children, who were asked about their experiences and subsequently asked for their opinion on proposed policy measures aimed at addressing their specific circumstances. Exercises were also conducted with children in grade seven in schools throughout the country.

The consultative process has culminated in the drafting of a national CLAP for South Africa.

The process of developing the CLAP was overseen and guided by an inter-sectoral National Steering Committee involving key departments, employers' and workers organisations, NGOs and the community constituency of NEDLAC. The National Steering Committee was coordinated and chaired by the Department of Labour.

The following principles were applied in the drafting of the CLAP :

  • Need for prioritisation: Because of limited resources the programme identified the forms of child work that should be prioritised. These were identified primarily on the basis of the number of children involved and the degree of harm of particular forms of work. The country also needed to take action first, and urgently, on the worst forms of child labour identified in the Convention.

  • Learn from others where appropriate: South Africa has developed an indigenous programme that suits the local context, but has borrowed, where appropriate, the best practices from other countries. It has also learnt from the mistakes of others.

  • The programme of action must be as realistic as possible, and take into account existing financial and human capacity and the extent to which capacity can be further developed within the time and resources available.

  • The programme must be sustainable. In order to achieve sustainability, it must be able to be funded from government funds after a possible initial injection of donor funds which the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has undertaken to help government access to assist with once-off expenditures that can kick-start ongoing, sustainable activities.

  • The programme must build on and fit in with existing programmes of government.

The Child Labour Action Programme identifies a wide range of activities falling within the mandates of a wide range of government departments and agencies. For each activity, the CLAP identifies the lead department as well as other departments and agencies, including non-governmental agencies, which would be involved. The views of the government agencies involved were canvassed during the formulation of the CLAP, and modifications introduced where necessary. Treasury’s budget officers were also consulted to ensure that the proposals would mesh with budgetary plans.

The majority of the activities making up the CLAP already forms part of government policy. In these cases the programme confirms that these activities contribute to addressing child labour. Where appropriate, it proposes that implementation be strengthened. In some cases, the CLAP suggests a variation of an existing programme or policy which will allow it to combat child labour more effectively. Neither of the above two types of proposals will involve significant expenditure or other resources from government.

In a few cases, the CLAP proposes new activities, some of which will necessitate new expenditures. These are clearly identified in the programme document. For each activity – whether existing, a variation of existing, or new – the programme identifies whether once-off and ongoing costs will be minimal, moderate or significant. The Department of Labour will undertake a costing exercise regarding at least those items identified as being moderately or significantly costly.

Key elements of the CLAP are:

  • Targeting the rollout of government and other stakeholders’ programmes and policies on poverty, employment, labour and social matters more effectively in areas where the work that children do has serious negative affects on them;

  • Promoting new legislative measure against worst forms of child labour;

  • Strengthening of national capacity to enforce legislative measures;

  • Increasing public awareness and social mobilization against the worst forms of child labour.

Large-scale projects with significant financial demands and substantial human resource requirements have been avoided since they will not be realistic or sustainable. In a few cases, however, action steps have been included which may have significant cost implications. The most important of these is the proposed extension of the qualifying age for the child support grant by 2006 from 13 years to the end of the school year the child turns 15 so as to avoid the current contradiction with the Basic Conditions of Employment Act prohibiting child work below that age, as well as the provisions on compulsory schooling. The programme also proposes a further roll out of the child support grant up to the age of 17 by 2008. This will encourage children to remain in school and so help to avoid children’s engagement in hazardous works activities and other WFCL.

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