Child labour still rife in SA - minister

2012-07-19 22:25

Johannesburg - Thousands of South African children were still being used for child labour, Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant said on Thursday.

Oliphant was delivering a keynote address during the national day against child labour in Tzaneen, Limpopo.

A study found that a total of 121 000 children were engaged in market economic activities in 2010.

She said a total of 90 000 children were reported having been injured in the past year while doing an economic work activity.

"Overall, 4 392 000 children - over 40% of those attending school - were reported to have been absent on five or more days since the beginning of the school year."

Oliphant added that 59 000 of these children gave work-related reasons for their absence, such as helping with household tasks and looking after their own children or other family members.

"South Africa will abide by the International Labour organisation's request for the country to lead the campaign to bring neighbouring countries on board, to comply with attempts to eradicate the worst forms of child labour."

  • aristar.aristary - 2012-07-20 04:37

    Until the government can support their children with proper child grants there will be child labour. In cases where both parents are dead from AIDS what are the surviving children supposed to do? The government does not recognise a twelve year old child as being the caretaker of his/her younger sibings so how must that child feed the siblings? By working or by prostitution.

      Erna - 2012-07-20 08:51

      This government has a unique problem which will need unique solutions. Unfortunately, I don't think child grants are the answer. I don't know what the answer is, but that's why we have a government. And if they don't know how to solve the problem,use consultants.

      aristar.aristary - 2012-07-20 19:08

      The government is useless in this field. Maybe Mr Zuma should donate some of his wastefulness to the children instead of taking his hole contingent on a London buying trip at the expense of the tax payer.

  • Juanne-pierre De Abreu - 2012-07-20 06:04

    Couldn't come to school because I had to take of my own children - sounds like school already failed her

  • Andrew M - 2012-07-20 07:35

    Tell us some more jokes please Minister, life would be oh so dreary without these stories. If 121000 children have work why can the so called adult jobless be unemployed? Just another sensation seeking Minister.

      dvgaura - 2012-07-23 16:15

      Andrew, child labour is unfortunately a reality in South Africa and it is the furthest thing from a joke. it is detrimental to children's well being and development. to answer your question, adult unemployment is exacerbated by the prevalence of child labour and exploitation. Unscrupulous employers opt to employ children as they are more vulnerable and easier to exploit. Similarly, incidences of child labour are further increased by adult unemployment & resultant poverty. Working in the children's rights sector specifically to combat this scourge, i can tell you right now that part of the problem is not that the minister seeks to sensationalize but it is instead that she does not take this issue as seriously as she should not to mention that the various gvt depts work in silos & this is especially worrisome given that in order to protect child victims of exploitation there needs to be active consolidated efforts to fight both adult unemployment as well as eliminate child labour of which that is not currently happening. the other part of the problem is that society as a whole shirks its social responsibility & instead, exercises all its energies, on blaming the government for its short comings without really understanding what the issues are, your comment being a case in point, and what we as society can do ourselves and what we should be holding the government accountable for.

  • horst.muller.7330 - 2012-07-20 07:39

    Nothing wrong with child labour, provided it is not in school hours and doesn't affect their schooling.

      dvgaura - 2012-07-23 16:19

      But that is exactly what child labour does. There is a difference between chores and child labour. The word labour in itself already suggests something negative. I get the point you are trying to make and just to clarify here is the official definition of child labour: child labour is work by children under 18yrs which is exploitative, hazardous or otherwise inappropriate for their age, detrimental to their schooling, or their social, physical, mental, spiritual and moral development. The term ‘work’ is not limited to work for gain but includes chores or household activities in the child’s household, where such work is exploitative, hazardous or inappropriate for their age or detrimental to their development.

  • kabelo.leballo - 2012-07-20 07:51


  • beryl.knipe - 2012-07-20 10:53

    SO? Who's fault is that?

  • deon.louw.7505 - 2012-07-20 14:57

    "All children should have 2 bikes, 1 to ride and another to rent out". The late Jim Rohn. It is not all bad that children work part time while keeping up with your studies. First step in economic freedom is not an ANC membership card but education.

  • titus.mtsweni.3 - 2012-07-20 18:38

    thanks Minister Oliphant for the good work the government is doing in looking after the interest of our children. what amazes me is that form the comments it seems as if we still have people who are not focused and argue out of context the issue of child labour against the grant system. They actually forget that the reason why the current government had to consider the grant system is exactly of the reasons caused by their apartheid system which they still defending. Lets change our attitudes

      kuno.tschumi.5 - 2013-03-01 15:13

      @titus - look it dont want to burst your pink bubble... but lets face it, the government is not doing enough to protect our children. it is not just a matter of talking about child labour and it should not happen... sure we all agree it should not happen, but it does and the question is what can be done against it. Talking about taking care of children... textbooks not delivered for a year is not taking care of children, it is abusing them. really dont think that the grant system has anything to do with the evil apartheid system...

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