Action Society

While the on-going debate regarding the 2020-academic school year endures, a number of parents still have not receive word or work from their schools. Absolute boredom, the concern about a year of their lives being ‘lost’ and a drop in household income, tempts children to enter the labour market.

As World Day against Child Labour is celebrated today the newfound civil rights organization, Action Society, encourages South Africans to abide the law and not to employ minors. The worldwide movement against child labour in any of its forms is canvassed annually on 12 June. The World Day against Child Labour 2020’s theme focuses on the impact of a crisis on child labour.

According to the International Labour Organization (ILO) 218 million children between the ages of 5 and 17 are labouring worldwide. Among them 152 million are victims of child labour; almost half of them, 73 million, work in hazardous circumstances. 60% of these vulnerable children in South Africa argue that they have no other option than to support their family financially.

“Under the basic conditions of the employment act it is a criminal offence to employ a child younger than 15 years — they are compelled to attend school. Even children aged 15 to 18 are only allowed to do work which are appropriate to their age and capabilities,” says Daleen Gouws, spokesperson of Action Society.

“As an organization fighting for the rights of children, we urge employers not to deprive any child from his or her carefree childhood, rather encourage them to adequately educate themselves.”

It comes as no surprise that Africa’s figure on child labour (72.1 million) outwits other continents (19.6%).
In terms of prevalence one in every five African children works. ILO’s 2012-2016 statistics indicates that Africa, Asia and the Pacific regions together accounts for almost nine out of every ten children in child labour worldwide!

Action Society suggests that general helping at home should be safe and constructive towards a child’s social, physical, mental, moral and educational development. “Paid and unpaid forms of work are classified as child labour when a person are either too young to work, or are involved in hazardous activities that may compromise their development. The exploitation of children, especially adults using children to commit crimes, is taboo!” says Gouws.

Although South Africa’s Department of Labour (DoL) successfully made several amendments to child labour legislations, their work has been limited to the formal economic sector and has not tackled the worst forms of child labour (WFCL).

According to Action Society knowledge and understanding of the child labour act is still an issue in South Africa. “Keeping a watchful eye and safeguarding our children is not merely the responsibility of our government. Due to the impact of the COVID-19 health pandemic on our economy, some children now more than ever need all the support they can get.”
ISSUED BY: Action Society
DATE: 12 JUNE 2020

Daleen Gouws,
Spokesperson: Action Society,
Cell: 0812338351
Categories: Press Release


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