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Child labour still unacceptably high

Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant. File picture: Leon Nicholas

Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant. File picture: Leon Nicholas

Published Aug 1, 2013


Johannesburg - More than 800,000 children are still involved in child labour, Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant said on Thursday.

“The number of children involved in child labour seems to have fallen over the years. But this is cold comfort as the number of children affected still remains unacceptably high at an estimated 821,000,” she said in a speech prepared for delivery.

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Oliphant was speaking at the commemoration of National Day Against Child Labour in Badplaas, Mpumalanga.

She said the day should serve as a sign of the department's commitment to stopping all forms of child labour.

South Africa had adopted a child labour programme of action to help prevent, reduce, and eventually eliminate the problem, Oliphant said.

“Since the first adoption of the programme, our country has made significant strides towards achieving this goal. There has been a significant expansion of measures to relieve household poverty which is the main driver of child labour. Legislation to address child labour has also been strengthened substantially and social grants were increased.”

In a Statistics SA survey conducted in 2010, it was found that girls were more likely than boys to be affected by child labour. In 2006, gender made little difference.

In both 2010 and 2006, children aged between 10 and 15 were the most likely to be involved in child labour, Oliphant said.

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The third global conference on child labour will be held in Brazil in October.

At the event the International Labour Office's international programme on the elimination of child labour will reveal findings of its study and discuss progress made so far. - Sapa

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