South Africa: Minister Thulas Nxesi On Child Labor At the 5th Global Conference On the Elimination of Child Labour

The fight against chid labor is about social justice – Employment and Labor Minister, Nxesi

Employment and Labor Minister Thulas Nxesi told delegates during the 5th Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labor that the fight against child labor is about social justice, creating the prosperous future, and hope for the children.

Nxesi said South Africa as a long-standing member of the International Labor Organization (ILO) had always stood for global social justice.

“But, in South Africa we also share the vision of the ILO and that of its member states – that of transforming the labor market and developing a decent world of work,” Nxesi said.

The Minister was speaking during a high level panel discussion on the topic of child labor in the midst of the deficits in decent work and youth employment, identifying pressing global challenges, and priorities for the global community.

“South Africa takes the issue of child labor very seriously. The country subscribes to the centenary declaration on the future of work that is premised on human-centred approach. The conference gives us an opportunity to show our commitment to eliminating child labour,” Nxesi concluded.

International Labor Organization Director-General Guy Ryder said the fight against the elimination of child labor has been characterized by “a go back – to go forward”.

“My impression over the last 20 years is that we got a little bit complacent. We were making really good progress until the last 10 years. Things have started to slow down. We stopped making child labor and its elimination a key policy objective – nationally and internationally. We talk a lot about child labor and have a lot of programs against child labor. We need a political push against this campaign.

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“We have the global architecture. Nationally we also have commitments and thirdly, we need to bring in all the stakeholders. We need to bring in the global elements and the national elements into the mix to regain the momentum quickly – which has somewhat dissipated. Let us not be distracted by the very real broad of challenges in the labor market – such as youth unemployment and others. Let us make sure that child labor features in all the approaches – explicitly,” Ryder said.

The Global Conference held at Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Conference Center (ICC) in Durban will during its duration include 28 side events, one-hour sessions that will allow delegates to further share knowledge and experiences related to the main topics addressed in the event.

The conference continues tomorrow with discussions on: teachers and their unions in successful mobilization to bring children back to school post Covid; case studies on child labour; reducing child labor and forced labor through skills development; responding to child labor in times of crisis; the role of education; policy priorities to end child labor in Africa; scaling up business due diligence on child labour.

The conference ends on Friday.

Mokgadi Pela, Acting Departmental Spokesperson

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