Child labour being ignored - Cosatu

2011-08-05 14:17

Johannesburg - The government is not doing enough to curb child labour by punishing business owners who take advantage of the poor, Cosatu in the North West said on Friday.

Leaders did not have the capacity to deal with the problem or were simply unwilling to face the reality, particularly in the North West, Congress of SA Trade Unions provincial secretary Solly Phetoe said.

"The reality is that we have underage people working on farms. They should be in school. The provincial department of labour is not investigating any of this."

An underage farm worker, Molefe Mogale, 14, was working on a farm in Rustenburg when his hand was chopped off while operating a machine. He died in hospital a day later, on July 26, Phetoe said.

"So far only a case [of murder and child labour] is opened and nothing further is done. No arrest, no prosecution... because the case was opened by the farmer we were told that they will not charge him."

The provincial department of economic development was not immediately available to comment.

According to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act it is illegal to employ a child under the age of 15. Children under 18 may be employed, but cannot do dangerous work or work meant for an adult.

  • Ian - 2011-08-05 14:24

    kaksatu you should talk

      THE.SRG - 2011-08-05 15:30

      get malema out of work then...he has the mentality of a 6 yr old

  • JHF - 2011-08-05 14:29

    Go have a look in the townships if you want to see child labour.

      JHF - 2011-08-05 15:07

      @daaivark - The focus is always on child labour on farms. What about 4-6 year old children working in townships? What is the difference when a child carries a 20l watercan and a child that sweps a floor? Child labour exists eveywhere and perhaps more people should look around them and just see it. Use both eyes to look at the problem and not just the one eye to use it as a racism tactic.

      daaivark - 2011-08-05 15:21

      Read my comment with less myopia and you will see that that is what I am saying.

      JHF - 2011-08-05 15:24

      Ian and JHF. These comments mean what exactly? You requested an answer.

  • daaivark - 2011-08-05 14:38

    Ian and JHF. These comments mean what exactly? JHF, that is exactly the point being made, though indirectly. It would be insane to expect COSATU to list every possible permutation of this sad phenomenon, but I think it is pretty fair to state that children are being worked on many farms, particularly in the "intensive-labour" periods such as harvesting. As for you Ian, your remark is just senseless.

      Boerseun - 2011-08-05 17:16

      These kids will only work with parents concent in most cases and that is the real evil.

  • jockvanwyk - 2011-08-05 14:41

    dont blame the farmers.Thousands of kids have lost both parents due to aids and have to care for themselves.There are many private institutions taking care of them but sadly the Govt.does very little

  • Caz - 2011-08-05 14:45

    So what do you do if the head of the house hold is a 12year old, deprive the family of a living because they too young to work, get better benifits and more welfare for the underprivlaged and they wont have to send their children to out to work. I dont say its right but then cosatu needs to look at the bigger picture!!!

      daaivark - 2011-08-05 14:53

      Caz, those children should not be obliged to work. That is why one has such things as grants. What would happen to a paler kid of twelve? Would you see him/her up at 5 and picking fruit. I think not. It is a problem with no easy solution. But it is a real problem nonetheless.

  • cromagnon - 2011-08-05 14:49

    farmers exploiting children, or children's last change for some sort of income?

  • Playnice - 2011-08-05 14:56

    The parents have a "demand, strike and destroy" mentality. If they rather put in a decent day's work, the children wouldnt have to.

  • bbcronk - 2011-08-05 14:58

    people should not die from hand been chopped off, what are our doctor doing half job`s. it bad lately people go for small thing`s and die eg growth removed to see if got cancer. we need better trained doctor`s& nurse`s

  • DEVILS SON - 2011-08-05 14:59

    dont take advantage of the poor, leave them to starve in the street rather. cosatu, if a lightie want to work let him work to his capabilities, he clearly needs to eat or is the kid robbing one of your union members of a job?:

      daaivark - 2011-08-05 15:21

      Do you even hear yourself?

      DEVILS SON - 2011-08-05 15:26

      ya, im not saying give the kid a welding machine or grinder, but if he is on the street, give him something that will make him feel good inside, survival is an inside job too mate. i was delivering news papers when i was like 13, made me feel good, cos my folks never had money to buy me sweets and stuff, made me feel independant

      cerveza - 2011-08-05 16:41

      @Devils son - but there is a difference between child friendly jobs and taking advantage of children. 150 years ago 12 year kids worked 12 hours a day 6 days a week for almost nothing while adults were unemployed. today we have laws to try and prevent this from happening as capitalism will always try to take advantage of the poor, no matter what age they are. But that being said, no labour law is valid for all situations especially in a country where many kids fend for themselves and even have to take care of others but still they and they do need a form of income, but that just makes them better targets to take advantage off, so the question is was this kid given the same pay as the adult workers?

  • Totman - 2011-08-05 15:05

    Children should not do labor specially where machinery are involved. If it is on a farm or a township. I know most of us grew up doing some, but when getting to machinery there thought-time-span is just to short and there life experience too little. A lot of these happenings occur when it is not such a big job and to get an adult laborer to do a small job with the monies that goes with it is not always possible, but is enough to enlighten a child's life. Sometimes the child also wanted to take on something to proof that he can do it and feeling pity for them they get allowed. Most of them are in a very good relationship with the employer. Saying all this does not make it safe and right. The employer have to accept to do it him/herself our go for a full mechanization system. I believe that you will get people that will misuse children, but I thought of mentioning another side as well.

  • Diana Prins - 2011-08-05 15:27

    Hi, here from the front. The problem is not the farmers. Often to be honest they trying to help. It is the issue that a lot of workers drink their pay out. Kids are born by parents which are children themselves. So the one parent cannot look financially after the children aka aint truly caring. So it is a rat race rather then a "crime". Kids do as they see . . yes I agree kids should be in school and yes I agree there should be a change. But what should the change be? By some of the government living the HIGH life and their voters are poor and uneducated. Lets rather take the cash, take the children out of the bad circumstances and learn anew. Same old same old will teach only same old.

  • KanaMay - 2011-08-05 16:31

    My father grew up on his parents' farm. They had 8 ~ 10 children so he had to help with the farmwork or there would not be enough food for the whole family. Could that be called child labour? Several decades later, my sister (& her school class) visits a tourist farm for a rural holiday. Parents of those town kids paid for the excursion so that they could experience the harvesting of grapes & potatoes. Crazy, huh ?

  • Boerseun - 2011-08-05 17:15

    If Cosatu or guvamint wants to see child labour, they should visit the dumpsite of parys and see how many black kids are forced to work there by their own parents. I have sen this at many other dumpsites as well.

      cerveza - 2011-08-05 17:40

      why are you hanging around at dumpsites?

  • Monica - 2011-08-05 20:05

    When mothers is sitting at robots; begging for food and money with a little baby or child; it is also child labour. This Government has now to stand up and stop all street beggers; selling goods and get an open space in every town where street-sellers and beggers can go and keep our streets clean; get street sweepers back and let them clean up our areas. The municipality do work all over and leave their bricks; sand and rubbish all over the show. Now farmers are targeted! Obviously the child could not get a job in town and maybe there were not a school for him to go to! What happened to the busses that took the farm children to schools. What happened to the Government officials that is suppose to check that all these farm children get to school?

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